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New rules adopted to strengthen CO2 emission standards for heavy-duty vehicles

The EU Council has reached an agreement on a proposal to update and strengthen the regulation on CO2 emission standards for heavy-duty vehicles. The aim of the proposal is to further reduce CO₂ emissions in the road transport sector and to introduce new targets for 2030, 2035 and 2040. The new rules will contribute to the EU achieving its ambitions to fight climate change.

“With today’s agreement, we have reaffirmed our commitment to reach our ambitious climate targets,” said Teresa Ribera Rodríguez, Spanish acting third vice-president of the government and minister for the ecological transition and the demographic challenge. “Lorries, buses and coaches are an important part of road transportation, affecting the daily lives of millions of citizens. Citizens deserve to live in a greener and healthier environment, and we are now a step closer towards this objective. At the same time, we are ensuring the competitiveness of the industry, by clarifying the roadmap for new investments.”

The Council’s text strikes a balance between keeping the Commission proposal’s main ambition to reduce the climate impact of the heavy-duty vehicle sector and allowing member states some flexibility in the implementation of the amended regulation while strengthening innovation and reinforcing the EU’s competitiveness in the sector.

The proposal expands the scope of the regulation to make almost all new heavy-duty vehicles with certified CO₂ emissions – including smaller trucks, urban buses, coaches and trailers – subject to emission reduction targets.

An exemption from the CO₂ reduction targets set in the regulation will apply to small-volume manufacturers and to vehicles used for mining, forestry and agriculture; to vehicles for use by the armed forces and fire services; to vehicles for use in civil protection, public order and medical care; and to vocational vehicles such as garbage trucks.

In line with the EU’s climate objectives for 2030 and beyond, the Council maintained the targets set by the Commission. Besides the 2025 CO2 emissions reduction target of 15 per cent which was already provided for, the new rules introduce new targets: 45 per cent emissions reduction from 2030 (increased from 30 per cent); 65 per cent emissions reduction from 2035 and 90 per cent emissions reduction from 2040.

The proposed amendment also introduces a 100 per cent zero-emission target for urban buses by 2035, while setting an intermediate target of 85 per cent for this category by 2030.

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