One of the oddities of the European Union’s vehicle emissions programme is that it has been focused entirely on reducing pollutants such as NOx and particulates – standards have been in place since the early 1990s and have resulted in massive reductions in these pollutants.
But there are currently no standards for emissions of greenhouse gases – even though road transport is estimated to account for about 20 per cent of all carbon dioxide emissions.
And now some of Europe’s leading brands, companies like Nestlé, Philips, DB Schenker, Deutsche Post DHL and IKEA, have demanded that the EU introduce energy efficiency standards within the next two years.
In a letter to European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, they argue that simply monitoring truck CO2 emissions would not be sufficient to kick start the market for ultra-fuel efficient trucks in Europe, and call for post-2020 fuel efficiency for new trucks and trailers.
Bart Vandewaetere, Nestlé’s assistant-vice president relations with European institutions, said: “Increasing the fuel efficiency of trucks will give the transport industry the required boost to further reduce overall CO2-emissions after 2020, when most of the other options have been fully exploited.”
The letter points out that an artic burns about €35,000 of fuel every year, so realising the 35 per cent cost-effective potential for truck fuel efficiency improvements could save businesses up to €10,000 per year, per truck, while avoiding 37 million tonnes of carbon being emitted annually by 2030.
It is significant that the pressure for action is coming from leading logistics providers such at DHL as well as global leaders in consumer products, making this a particularly potent call to action.
The ball is now in the Commission’s court – my guess is that we are likely to see action sooner rather than later.