Press statement

Europe sets the bar high and approves a 90% CO2 emission reduction target in new trucks by 2040

Berlin, 10 April — Today, in a landmark achievement, the European Parliament approved a mandatory target to reduce 90% of CO2 emissions from new trucks by 2040. The regulation raises the ambition of previous EU legislation and widens the scope of vehicles covered, setting the stage for one of the world’s most robust regulatory climate frameworks for heavy-duty vehicles.

“What seemed inconceivable just years ago is now the unequivocal path forward. This historic legislation offers clarity to industry, leveraging zero-emission heavy vehicles as the most technologically feasible and cost-effective route to meet Europe’s climate goals. The trucking industry, Europe’s second largest contributor to transport CO2 emissions, is about to experience a transformative shift,” said Felipe Rodríguez, Director of the Heavy-duty Vehicle Program at the International Council of Clean Transportation (ICCT), a research organization advising governments on transport decarbonization.

Trucks and buses make up just 2% of the total vehicles on the road in the EU but account for a quarter of all transport-related emissions. Under the newly approved regulation, manufacturers must progressively introduce cleaner vehicles into the market to avert fines. On average, new trucks need to emit 43% less CO2 in 2030 than they did in 2019, 64% less in 2035, and 90% less in 2040. City buses will witness an even swifter transition, with 90% of sales required to be zero-emission by 2030 and a complete phase-out of fossil-fueled bus sales by 2035.

The regulatory scope has been significantly expanded to include more truck types, buses, coaches, trailers, and vocational vehicles such as garbage trucks. Under this new scope, over 90% of all new truck and bus sales are covered by the revised CO2 standards, up from 65% under the original standards. Small trucks of less than 5 tonnes remain unregulated but will be considered in the review in 2027.

“European regulators are seizing the opportunity to boost a booming industry: electric trucks. Over the past year, these zero-emission vehicles have been hitting EU roads, with sales tripling between 2022 and 2023. Shares of zero-emission city buses also accelerated last year, overtaking diesel sales to become the most popular powertrain, and reaching an all-time high of over 40% by the end of 2023,” said Eamonn Mulholland, ICCT’s expert on Europe’s truck CO2 standards.

Despite last-minute interventions, the role of e-fuels remains excluded from the heavy-duty CO2 standards. The European Commission is tasked with assessing the role such carbon neutral fuels could play in the regulation by 2027.

Media contact
Susana Irles,
+49 (0) 302 332 68412

About the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT)

The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) is an independent nonprofit research organization founded to provide exceptional, objective, timely research and technical and scientific analysis to environmental regulators. Our work empowers policymakers and others worldwide to improve the environmental performance of road, marine, and air transportation to benefit public health and mitigate climate change. We began collaborating and working as a group of like-minded policymakers and technical experts, formalizing our status as a mission-driven non-governmental organization in 2005.

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