POLIS welcomes the European Parliament’s vote for stricter CO2 emission standards for heavy-duty vehicles

Last week, the European Parliament (EP) voted to strengthen CO2 emission performance targets for new heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs) in the European Union. POLIS welcomes the vote as a step forward for cities and regions fighting to mitigate climate change and improve air quality.

At the plenary session of the EP on 10 April 2024, ambitious measures were passed to boost CO2 emission reduction targets for new HDVs. The EP adopted its position with 341 votes in favour, 268 against, and 14 abstentions. Its decision comes after the proposed measures were already agreed upon by the Council of the EU.

Heavy vehicles, heavy impacts

Currently, heavy-duty vehicles are responsible for more than 25% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from road transport in the EU. Moreover, they account for over 6% of total EU GHG emissions.

According to the European Commission’s legislative proposal from February 2023, the EU must curb emissions from HDVs in order to reduce demand for imported fossil fuels and achieve climate neutrality by 2050.

Going emission-free

In response to these concerns, the regulation makes the electrification of cars, vans, trucks and buses a priority for the next decade.

On the one hand, it outlines strict CO2 reduction targets for trucks and coaches, with the objective of achieving a 43% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030, 64% by 2035, and 90% by 2040.

Additionally, it aims to limit emissions from city buses. Like other captive fleets, these buses account for a significant number of daily kilometers driven in Europe's cities. Accordingly, all new city buses will have to be emission-free from 2035 onwards, with an intermediate objective of 90% CO2 emission reductions by 2030.

A win for cities and regions

The EP's vote represents a major step forward in helping cities and regions combat climate change and air pollution. Together with the phase-out of internal combustion engine cars and vans in 2035, this regulation would provide concrete targets and mechanisms to drive down emissions and accelerate the adoption of cleaner, greener technologies.

With the vote of the EP secured, it is time to go from theory to practice. Following formal adoption by the Council, wide-scale deployment of zero-emission HDVs will be the next item on the agenda, alongside the establishment of a comprehensive EV charging infrastructure that responds to future demand.

To find out more, read the original press release from the European Parliament. For any questions, please contact Pedro Gomes and Zsófia Jákói.