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European Council agrees on new CO2 emission standards for heavy-duty vehicles

17 October 2023

The European Council has reached an agreement (‘general approach’) on the proposed new CO2 emission standards for heavy-duty vehicles. 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 have to be formally adopted by the Council and the Parliament.

The adopted general approach is largely aligned with the EU Commission proposal, which calls for a 45% CO2 emission reduction from 2030 (increased from the current 30% target), a 65% emission reduction from 2035, and a 90% emission reduction from 2040. Reaching these targets would require a rapidly increasing share of zero tailpipe emission vehicles in the EU-wide heavy-duty vehicle fleet.

The main changes agreed by the Council include:

The amended regulation is to be reviewed by the Commission in 2027, one year earlier than originally proposed by the Commission. One of the issues the Commission will have to report on in its review is progress in the deployment of public and private recharging and refueling infrastructure for alternative fuels for vehicles covered by the regulation.

In its review, the Commission will also have to produce an assessment of the role of a carbon correction factor (CCF) in the heavy-duty vehicle sector. The CCF would account for the use of renewable fuels and, accordingly, reduce the CO2 emission targets for truck manufacturers by the amount of renewable fuels already included in the fuel mix in a given year.

In a statement on the Council’s general approach, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) said that “the proposed CO2 reduction targets for trucks and buses remain highly ambitious in light of insufficient enabling conditions”—i.e., the lack of adequate charging and refueling infrastructure.

Source: EU Council