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EU approves CO2 emission standards for heavy-duty vehicles

13 May 2024

The EU Council formally adopted the regulation on CO2 emission standards for heavy-duty vehicles, amending and strengthening the existing EU rules. The updated rules introduce new, stricter CO2 emission targets for 2030, 2035 and 2040.

The regulation, already approved by the EU Parliament, will now be signed and published in the Official Journal of the EU. It will enter into force 20 days after its publication.

The increasingly stricter CO2 emission targets introduced by the new regulation are intended to force the adoption of zero tailpipe emission vehicles such as battery electric trucks. The revised rules also expand the scope of the of the existing regulation to make almost all new heavy-duty vehicles with certified CO2 emissions—including smaller trucks, urban buses, coaches and trailers—subject to emission reduction targets.

The new rules maintain the existing 2025 target currently set at a 15% emissions reduction for heavy trucks weighing over 16 tonnes. In line with the EU’s climate objectives for 2030 and beyond, the regulation further establishes the following new emission reduction targets, relative to 2019 emission levels:

These targets will apply to medium and 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% zero-emission target for new urban buses by 2035, with an intermediate target of 90% 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 effectiveness and impact of the amended regulation will be reviewed by the Commission in 2027. Some of the key issues to be evaluated in the review include:

The heavy-duty vehicle sector is responsible for over 25% of GHG 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.

On 14 February 2023, the Commission submitted a proposal for a revision of the CO2 emission standards for heavy-duty vehicles. The updated rules—a part of the Fit for 55 legislative package—contribute to the EU’s aim of reducing its net GHG emissions by at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels, and to achieve climate neutrality by 2050.

Source: EU Council