The Council of the European Union has reached a “general approach” agreement on a proposal to update and strengthen the Regulation on CO2 emission standards for heavy vehicles.
The aim of the proposal is to further reduce CO2 emissions in the road transport sector and introduce new targets for 2030, 2035, and 2040.
These new standards will play a crucial role in the EU’s efforts to combat climate change.
The proposal also aims to promote an increasing proportion of zero-emission vehicles in the entire EU fleet of heavy vehicles while ensuring that innovation in the sector is preserved and competitiveness is maintained.
This general approach agreement will serve as a mandate for negotiations with the European Parliament on the final shape of the legislation.
Teresa Ribera Rodríguez, Third Deputy Prime Minister in office and Minister for Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge, stated: “With today’s agreement, we have reaffirmed our commitment to achieving our ambitious climate goals.”
“Trucks, buses, and coaches are a significant part of road transport and impact the daily lives of millions of citizens. Citizens deserve to live in a greener and healthier environment, and now we are one step closer to that goal. At the same time, we ensure the industry’s competitiveness by clarifying the roadmap for new investments,” she added.
Key Changes Agreed by the Council
The Council’s text strikes a balance between maintaining the Commission’s main ambition to reduce the climate impact of the heavy vehicle sector and allowing Member States some flexibility in implementing the amended regulation while strengthening innovation and EU competitiveness in the sector.
Scope of the Regulation
The proposal broadens the scope of the regulation so that nearly all new heavy vehicles with certified CO2 emissions, including smaller trucks, urban buses, coaches, and trailers, will be subject to emissions reduction targets.
An exemption from the CO2 reduction targets set in the regulation will apply to small manufacturers and vehicles used in mining, forestry, and agriculture; vehicles for use by the armed forces and firefighting services; vehicles for use in civil protection, public order, and healthcare; and professional vehicles like garbage trucks.
In line with the EU’s climate goals for 2030 and beyond, the Council retained the targets set by the Commission.
In addition to the already planned 15% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2025, the new standards introduce new targets:
- A 45% reduction in emissions from 2030 (increased from 30%).
- A 65% reduction in emissions from 2035.
- A 90% reduction in emissions from 2040.
The Council agreed to set the targets for trailers and semi-trailers at 7.5%.
Zero-Emission Goal for Urban Buses
The proposed amendment introduces a 100% zero-emission target for urban buses by 2035, with an intermediate target of 85% for this category by 2030.
The Council agreed to exempt interurban buses from this target.
The effectiveness and impact of the amended Regulation on the aforementioned targets will be reviewed by the Commission in 2027, one year earlier than originally proposed by the Commission.
The review will include an assessment of progress in deploying public and private infrastructure for alternative fuels refuelling and charging for vehicles covered by this Regulation.
The general approach will serve as a mandate for negotiations with the European Parliament on the final shape of the legislation. The outcome of the negotiations will need to be formally adopted by both the Council and the Parliament.
This agreement is significant in the EU’s ongoing efforts to address climate change and reduce CO2 emissions from the heavy vehicle sector, which accounts for over 25% of greenhouse gas emissions from road transport in the EU.
These changes are essential to achieve the EU’s ambitious climate goals and move towards more sustainable and environmentally friendly mobility.