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Stricter CO2 emission standards for heavy-duty vehicles approved by EU Council

A new and updated regulation on carbon dioxide (CO2) emission standards for heavy-duty vehicles was formally adopted by the Council of the European Union (EU), amending and strengthening already existing EU rules, which will further reduce CO2 emissions from road transport and will introduce new targets for the next 16 years (2030, 2035, 2040).

These more robust standards for CO2 emissions will help increase the share of zero-emission vehicles among heavy-duty vehicles across the EU while preserving and enhancing innovation and competitiveness in the sector.

The scope of the revised new regulations is expanded to make almost all new heavy-duty vehicles with certified CO2 emissions subject to emission reduction targets (such as smaller trucks, urban buses, coaches and trailers).

The current 2025 target of 15 per cent emissions reduction will remain for heavy lorries weighing over 16 tonnes. Based on the climate objectives of the EU for 2030 and beyond, the new regulation further establishes the following new targets: 45 per cent emissions reduction from 2030, 65 per cent emissions reduction from 2035 and 90 per cent emissions reduction from 2040.

These targets will apply to medium lorries, heavy trucks weighing over 7.5 tonnes and coaches, as well as to corresponding vocational vehicles from 2035 onwards.

The new rules introduce a 100 per cent zero-emission target for new urban buses by 2035, with an intermediate target of 90 per cent for this category by 2030. Inter-urban buses will be exempt from this target, as they will be regarded as coaches for the purposes of measuring emissions reduction.

The new amended regulation will enter into force 20 days after its publication, while its effectiveness and impact will be reviewed by the European Commission in 2027.

The heavy-duty vehicle sector is responsible for over 25 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions from road transport in the EU. CO2 emission standards for certain heavy-duty vehicles were set for the first time in 2019, with targets for 2025 to 2029 and for 2030 onwards, with provision for a review of the regulation by 2022.

The European Commission submitted a proposal for a revision of the CO2 emission standards for heavy-duty vehicles in February 2023. This revision is an integral part of the Fit for 55 legislative package. The updated rules contribute to the EU’s aim of reducing its net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 per centby 2030 compared to 1990 levels and achieving climate neutrality by 2050.

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