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EU reaches ‘provisional’ deal on emissions targets for new heavy-duty vehicles

The European Council and European Parliament on Thursday (18 January) reached a “provisional political agreement” on CO2 emissions targets for new heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs) entering the EU market from 2030.

The agreement proposes CO2 emissions reduction targets for HDVs of 45 per cent for 2030-2034, 65 per cent for 2035-2039 and 90 per cent as of 2040, compared to 2019 levels.

The scope of the regulation would now apply to almost all trucks (including vocational vehicles, such as garbage lorries, tippers or concrete mixers as of 2035), urban buses, long-distance buses and trailers.  Specific emissions reduction targets are also set for trailers (7.5 per cent) and semi-trailers (10 per cent), starting from 2030.

It would also set a requirement for new urban buses to reduce emissions by 90 per cent as of 2030. All new urban buses would have to be zero-emissions by 2035.

“Emissions from road transport have been rising and we need to turn the tide. The agreement reached today will make trucks and buses less polluting, drive down emissions and improve air quality across the EU. When we put more zero-emission vehicles on our roads, it benefits all of us,” said Wopke Hoekstra, European Commissioner for Climate Action. “By producing more zero-emission vehicles, European industry will be in a stronger position to compete, and it now has long-term certainty about the applicable rules. Citizens will have cleaner air to breathe, especially in our cities.”

Heavy-duty vehicles are responsible for more than 25 per cent of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from road transport in the EU and account for over 6 per cent of the total EU GHG emissions.

The agreement was “welcomed” by the European Commission on Thursday. Under the provisional deal, the Commission will review the effectiveness and impact of the regulation by 2027, the EU’s executive body said in a press release.

This review will cover the expansion of the scope to small lorries, a methodology for registering HDVs exclusively running on CO2-neutral fuels, in conformity with EU law and climate neutrality objectives, the role of a carbon correction factor in the transition towards zero-emission HDVs and a methodology for the determination of full lifecycle CO2 emissions of new heavy-duty vehicles.

The European Parliament and Council now need to formally approve the agreement. Once this process is completed, the new legislation will be published in the Official Journal of the Union and enter into force.

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