A group of nineteen large companies and environmental NGOs are demanding the European Commission introduce binding CO2 limits for trucks.
There are currently no standards regulating pollution from trucks. Campaigners have put pressure on the Commission to propose binding rules.
Trucks make up around 25% of all vehicle emissions even though they only account for 5% of vehicles on the roads in Europe, according to the executive’s figures.
Large companies like Ikea, Philips and Nestlé signed a letter to Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and nine commissioners today (27 May) asking the executive to lay the groundwork for binding standards next month.
The Commission is expected to announce a new strategy to lower carbon emissions in the transport sector at the end of June.
The companies joined up with transport firms including Heathrow airport, the German rail operator Deutsche Bahn’s logistics arm and Germany’s public postal operator Deutsche Post DHL for the appeal. Brussels-based NGO Transport & Environment also signed up the letter.
The executive will announce a new technological tool to measure truck emissions called VECTO. But campaigners have said that doesn’t go far enough.
“We do not believe that introducing a truck CO2 test procedure and monitoring truck CO2 emissions would be sufficient to kick start the market for ultra-fuel efficient trucks in Europe,” the groups wrote in their letter to the Commission.
The groups argued that businesses could save €10,000 per year if they make trucks more efficient.
An inquiry published this week by the European Court of Auditors found that freight is increasingly sent by trucks in Europe, although the Commission poured money into railways to shift that trend.
Campaigners say Europe has fallen behind as other countries passed laws forcing manufacturers to build cleaner trucks.
“It’s time for the Juncker Commission to follow the example of the US, China and Japan and set ambitious truck fuel economy standards,” said William Todts, freight director at Transport & Environment.
But the Commission has been lobbied by manufacturers to keep EU-wide truck standards off the table.
“Considering the complexity of the truck market with several thousand shapes and sizes, introducing legislation suitable for all variations is extremely challenging. There simply is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach for heavy-duty vehicles,” a spokesperson for the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) said.
Trucks, buses and coaches produce about a quarter of CO2 emissions from road transport in the EU and some 5% of the EU’s total greenhouse gas emissions – a greater share than international aviation or shipping, according to the European Commission.
Despite some improvements in fuel efficiency, CO2 emissions from Heavy Duty Vehicles (HDVs) rose by some 36% between 1990 and 2010, mainly due to increasing road freight traffic.
In May 2014, the European Commission set out a strategy to curb CO2 emissions from HDVs over the coming years. It is the EU’s first initiative to tackle such emissions from trucks, buses and coaches.
The Commission said it intends to propose legislation in 2015 which would require CO2 emissions from new HDVs to be certified, reported and monitored.