The European Commission announced today a series of new proposed carbon emissions reduction targets for new heavy duty vehicles, such as trucks, buses and trailers, including goals to reduce emissions by 90% by 2040, compared to 2019 levels, and for all new city buses to be zero-emission as of 2030.

Additional interim proposed requirements for new heavy duty vehicles include 45% emissions reductions from 2030, and 65% from 2035.

According to a statement released by the Commission announcing the proposals, the new targets would align with several EU objectives, including the European Green Deal, the EU strategy to achieve a climate neutral economy by 2050, as well as from REPowerEU, the EU plan to end its reliance on Russian fossil fuels. The Commission said that the new standards would result in a decrease in demand of roughly 2 billion barrels of imported oil between 2031 and 2050.

Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, said:

“With today’s proposal, we are making sure that new trucks are becoming less polluting and that more buses with zero emissions will ride through our cities. Fighting the climate crisis, enhancing the quality of life of our citizens, and boosting Europe’s industrial competitiveness go hand-in-hand.”

Trucks and buses account for over 6% of total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the EU, according to the commission, and more than 25% of GHG emissions from road transport.

Achieving the targets in the proposals would require a massive shift towards cleaner energy solutions for the sector, with 99% of heavy duty vehicles in the EU fleet currently running on internal combustion engines. According to the Commission, the new proposed standards would send a clear signal to industry enabling investment in zero-emission technologies and in recharging and refueling infrastructure.

While the EU’s current heavy duty vehicle emission standards only date from 2019, the Commission said that the standards, which include goals to reduce CO2 emissions by 15% by 2025 and 30% by 2030, no longer align with EU climate objectives, such as the Fit for 55 strategy to cut emissions by 55% by 2030. The new rules would also extend the scope of the rules to smaller trucks, city buses, long-distance buses and trailers.

Timmermans added:

“To reach our climate and zero pollution goals all parts of the transport sector have to actively contribute. In 2050, nearly all of the vehicles on our roads have to be zero-emission. Our Climate Law requires it, our cities demand it, and our manufacturers are gearing up for it.”

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