Trucks could be much more fuel efficient and save hauliers €5,700 a year if they used technology that is already available, according to a new report by sustainable transport group Transport & Environment (T&E) released on Tuesday (26 September).
But the technology is still rarely used, T&E said, citing the example of turbo-compounding, which cuts fuel consumption by 3% but is only being installed in 0.24% of European trucks, despite having been on the market for 15 years.
Another example is the poor use of low-resistance tyres, which are easily retrofitted on existing trucks and reduce fuel consumption by 7%. Those have a market penetration of only 1%, according to the report, which is based on data from the International Council on Clean Transportation.
Hauliers spend on average €32,000 a year per truck on fuel, meaning that the savings could amount to nearly 18%.
The Commission plans to publish in early 2018 its proposed European truck fuel-efficiency standards, including CO2 standards, and T&E told EURACTIV.com the requirements should be stricter “to make the market move and roll out these fuel efficiency technologies in a more effective way”.
Stef Cornelis, safer and cleaner trucks officer at T&E, said in a statement the treatment of new technologies was “a classic case of market failure. Technologies that have been on the market for more than five years on average are only being deployed in around 15% of new trucks.”
“EU-wide truck fuel standards will help crack this market failure. Today, truck fuel standards are already in place in North America, China and Japan, where they increasingly ensure that such mature fuel-saving technologies are deployed on new trucks.”
“Given the value of the savings on offer, it is a shame to see so much innovation left on the shelf,” Cornelis concluded.
Trucks represent less than 5% of all vehicles on the road in Europe but are responsible for around a quarter of road transport’s greenhouse gas emissions.
More importantly, their fuel consumption has not improved in the last 20 years so a truck from 2015 still consumes roughly the same amount of fuel as a truck manufactured in 1995, T&E warned.