Reducing CO2 emissions from Heavy-Duty Vehicles

Trucks, buses and other vehicles produce about a quarter of the CO2 emissions from all road transport in the EU and about 5% of the total greenhouse gas emissions in the EU. This is many times more emissions than international aviation or shipping. Therefore, the European Commission has developed a strategy to reduce CO2 emissions from these heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs) for the coming years.

Despite some improvements in fuel efficiency and compositions, CO2 emissions from HDVs increased by about 36% between 1990 and 2010, mainly due to an increase in road freight traffic. Projections show that without policy measures, total HDV emissions in 2030 and 2050 would still be close to current levels.

This is clearly incompatible with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transport by about 60% compared to 1990 levels by 2050. This goal was outlined in the Transport Commission's 2011 White Paper and Roadmap for the Transition to a Competitive low-carbon Economy in 2050.


Actions to reduce emissions into the atmosphere focus on measuring and reporting the amount of fuel burned.

While CO2 emissions from new passenger cars and vans are being successfully reduced in accordance with recent EU legislation, the HDV strategy adopted in May 2014 is the first EU initiative to combat such emissions from trucks, buses and intercity buses.

Despite the economic importance of fuel consumption, CO2 emissions from HDV are not currently measured by the state and are not reported in statistics. Thus, the strategy focuses on short-term actions for certification, reporting and monitoring of HDV emissions. This is an important first step towards limiting them.

The Commission has developed a VECTO computer simulation tool to measure CO2 emissions from new vehicles. With the support of this tool, the Commission intends to propose legislation in 2015 that would require certification, reporting and monitoring of CO2 emissions from new HDVs.

This will contribute to the creation of a more transparent and competitive market and the introduction of the most energy-efficient technologies.

Further measures possible in the medium term:

When this legislation comes into force, the Commission may consider further measures to limit CO2 emissions from HDVs. The most obvious option is to set mandatory limits on average CO2 emissions from newly registered HDVs, as has already been done for passenger cars and vans.

Other measures could include the development of modern infrastructure supporting alternative fuels for HDVs, more reasonable pricing for the use of infrastructure, efficient and consistent use of vehicle taxation by Member States, and other market mechanisms. An impact assessment will be conducted to determine the most cost-effective option or alternatives.

Studies conducted during the preparation of the strategy show that modern technologies can provide a cost-effective reduction of CO2 emissions from new HDVs by at least 30%.

Public consultations on the preparation of legislation on monitoring/reporting on fuel consumption by heavy-duty vehicles and CO2 emissions were opened on July 20, 2016 and lasted until October 28, 2016.