Britain and three other countries have joined calls for mandatory EU limits on the amount of CO2 pumped out by trucks, which account for 30% of road transport emissions but only a small fraction of vehicles on the road.
The European Commission has introduced a limit of 95 grams of CO2 per kilometre (g/km) by 2021 for cars and vans, but emissions from heavy duty vehicles are unregulated. The United States by contrast in June proposed tighter standards on truck emissions.
Britain, Belgium, Slovenia and the Netherlands are calling for the commission to introduce CO2 limits for trucks, according to submissions to a commission questionnaire, adding their weight to calls from Germany’s Federal Environment Agency in August for CO2 targets for trucks.
An EU source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Germany’s backing of heavy duty vehicle standards was linked to efforts to protect its car industry: “There is an argument that if you bring in standards for trucks, you don’t have to do any more for cars.”
Lobby group the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association said that CO2 emissions from trucks were already being reduced by efforts to improve fuel efficiency, driven by competition in the industry.
“Considering that trucks and buses come in several thousand shapes and sizes, there simply is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to address CO2 emissions from heavy-duty vehicles,” said a spokeswoman for the association, whose members include Daimler, Renault and Volkswagen.
Earlier this month the European Parliament called for the development of a simulation tool measuring the fuel consumption and CO2 emissions of heavy duty vehicles, and, if needed, the imposition of mandatory emissions limits.
Commission data found overall heavy duty vehicle emissions rose by 36% between 1990 and 2010.
Data released yesterday by campaign group Transport and Environment show that in 2012 heavy duty vehicles accounted for almost a third of road transport emissions but less than 5% of all vehicles on the road. n
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