Commission sets out strategy to curb CO2 emissions from trucks, buses and coaches

Trucks, buses and coaches would use less fuel and emit lower amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) under a strategy adopted by the European Commission today. Such heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs) are responsible for around a quarter of CO2 emissions from road transport in the EU. Without action, HDV emissions in 2030-2050 are projected to remain close to current, unsustainable levels

Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said “Today we are taking the next steps to curb emissions from road transport. We first regulated cars and vans, and we can now see the results: emissions have been reduced, air pollution in cities is in decline, and more innovative, fuel-efficient vehicles are now available to consumers. That is why we turn now to trucks and buses. This strategy outlines new measures which over time will cut CO2 emissions of these vehicles, save operators money and make the EU less dependent on imported oil.”

Focus on short-term action

While CO2 emissions from new cars and vans are being successfully reduced under recent EU legislation, today’s strategy1 is the first to address emissions from HDVs.

The strategy focuses on short-term action to certify, report and monitor HDV emissions. This is an essential first step towards curbing emissions, where comparability among HDVs has so far been difficult largely due to the considerable variety of models and sizes of trucks available, which are highly customised to market needs and produced in much smaller quantities than cars and vans.

The Commission has developed a computer simulation tool, VECTO, to measure CO2 emissions from new vehicles. With the support of this tool the Commission intends to bring forward proposals for legislation next year which would require CO2 emissions from new HDVs to be certified, reported and monitored. This will contribute to a more transparent and competitive market and the adoption of the most energy-efficient technologies.

Further measures possible in medium term

When this legislation is in force the Commission may consider further measures to curb CO2 emissions from HDVs. The most apparent option is to set mandatory limits on average CO2 emissions from newly-registered HDVs, as is already done for cars and vans. Other options could include the development of modern infrastructure supporting alternative fuels for HDVs, smarter pricing on infrastructure usage, effective and coherent use of vehicle taxation by Member States and other market-based mechanisms. An impact assessment will be done to identify the most cost-effective option or options.

Studies carried out while preparing the strategy suggest that state-of-the art technologies can achieve cost-effective reductions in CO2 emissions from new HDVs of at least 30%.


HDV emissions represent about a quarter of road transport emissions and 5% of total EU greenhouse gas emissions.

The Impact Assessment that underpins the HDV Strategy shows that CO2 emissions from HDV transport grew by some 36% between 1990 and 2010.

Projections based on a ‘no policy change’ scenario imply that in 2030-2050 total EU HDV emissions would remain close to current levels, and thus around 35% higher than in 1990. This is clearly incompatible with the objective of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transport by around 60% of 1990 levels by 2050, as set out in the Commission’s 2011 Transport White Paper and Roadmap for moving to a competitive low carbon economy in 2050.

Next steps

The strategy is addressed to the European Parliament and the Council, which are invited to endorse it and help deliver the actions outlined.

(Source: European Commission)


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