Policy update

The revised CO2 standards for heavy-duty vehicles in the European Union

This policy update summarizes the main elements of the revised EU CO2 standards for trucks and buses, Europe’s cornerstone regulation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the heavy-duty vehicle sector. Globally, the legislation is one of the most ambitious greenhouse gas standards for the heavy-duty vehicle sector.

Trucks and buses comprise 2% of the vehicles on the road in Europe but are the second largest contributors to CO2 emissions in transport. In 2021, they were responsible for 28% of CO2 emissions from the European road transport sector. The European Climate Law requires the EU to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. The transport sector is obligated to reduce its emissions by 90% by 2050 relative to 1990 to comply with this target.

On February 14, 2023, the European Commission released a proposal to revise the previous CO2 standards. The legislation was approved by the European Parliament on April 10, 2024 and ratified by the Council of the European Union on May 13, 2024.

The original CO2 standards required the emissions from most new trucks to be 15% lower by 2025 and 30% lower by 2030 than the 2019 reporting period. The revised standards maintain the CO2 reduction target of 15% for 2025 and raise the 2030 target to 45% while introducing a 65% reduction target for 2035 and a 90% target for 2040.

Figure 2. Specific targets for HDVs relative to their reporting period

Heavy-duty vehicles that made up 92% of sales in 2023 are now covered under the new regulation. The revision widens the scope of covered vehicles to include more truck types, buses, coaches, trailers, and vocational vehicles and adjusts the flexibilities available to manufacturers for compliance.

Figure 1. Scope of vehicles covered under the CO2 standards and their annual sales relative to all HDVs

Zero-emission vehicles
Vehicle efficiency