The European Union (EU) has approved new regulations that require trucks and other heavy-duty vehicles to reduce their CO2 emissions significantly by 2030, with further reductions mandated

for subsequent years. The legislation, endorsed by EU member states in the European Council, is part of the comprehensive 'Fit for 55' legislative package aimed at achieving a 55 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 1990 levels, with the ultimate goal of achieving climate neutrality by 2050.

Under the new standards, heavy-duty vehicles must achieve a 45 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030 compared to 2019 levels. This target will escalate to 65 per cent by 2035 and 90 per cent by 2040. The legislation expands the scope of emission standards to include almost all new heavy-duty vehicles, encompassing smaller trucks, urban buses, coaches, and trailers.

While retaining the existing 2025 target of a 15 per cent reduction in emissions for heavy-duty trucks over 16 tonnes, the legislation adjusts targets in line with evolving climate objectives. By 2030, emissions reductions must reach at least 45 per cent, up from the previous target of 30 per cent. Furthermore, truck manufacturers will be required to achieve fleet-wide CO2 emissions reductions of at least 65 per cent by 2035 and 90 per cent by 2040.

Although the European Commission initially proposed zero emissions for urban buses by 2030, member states and Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) opted for a 90 per cent reduction target. Complete emission-free urban buses will be mandated only from 2035, a delay of five years from the Commission's proposal.

The new regulation will undergo review in 2027, during which the Commission will assess the potential inclusion of lighter trucks weighing less than 5 tonnes within its ambit. These measures reflect the EU's commitment to combatting climate change and transitioning towards a more sustainable transport sector. Photo by Alf van Beem, Wikimedia commons.