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Council agrees on new rules to reduce CO2 emissions for heavy duty vehicles by 90% from 2040

The Council has reached an agreement ('general approach') 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 CO? 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.

According to the Council, the proposal also aims to encourage an increasing share of zero-emission vehicles in the EU-wide heavy-duty vehicle fleet, while ensuring that innovation in the sector and its competitiveness are preserved and enhanced. The general approach will serve as a mandate for negotiations with the European Parliament on the final shape of the legislation.

“With the agreement we have reaffirmed our commitment to reach our ambitious climate targets. 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,” Teresa Ribera, Spanish acting third vice-president of the government and minister for the ecological transition and the demographic challenge, said.

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% which was already provided for, the new rules introduce new targets: 45% emissions reduction from 2030 (increased from 30%), 65% emissions reduction from 2035 and 90% emissions reduction from 2040. Member states agreed to set the targets for trailers and semi-trailers at 7.5%.

The proposed amendment introduces a 100% zero-emission target for urban buses by 2035, while setting an intermediate target of 85% for this category by 2030. The Council agreed to exempt inter-urban buses from this target.

The general approach will serve as the Council’s mandate for negotiations with the European Parliament on the final shape of the legislation. The outcome of the negotiations will have to be formally adopted by the Council and the Parliament.

Scope of the regulation

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

Member states amended the definition of 'zero-emission heavy-duty vehicle' by further lowering the proposed threshold, which still covers hydrogen-fuelled vehicles. Furthermore, member states added a sub-group of vehicles to include extra heavy combination (EHC) lorries in order to take better account of their characteristics, including with regard to their energy efficiency.


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