Trucks aren’t just the backbone of the European economy, they’re also a major source of Greenhouse Gas emissions.
Unlike passenger cars, there is no standard EU procedure to test new truck CO2 emissions. The European Commission has spent much of the last decade developing such a test and has called this procedure VECTO. This test is an essential building block for truck CO2 regulation.
One key area of discussion is whether market forces alone can deliver sufficient CO2 savings or whether additional regulatory intervention is needed. Truckmakers oppose regulation but the European Commission announced that it will introduce truck CO2 standards during this Commission.
Transport is by far the biggest driver of oil demand at EU level with 2/3rds of the final demand coming from transport. According to a study by Cambridge Econometrics – the EU’s dependence on crude oil and diesel imports has increased in the last 15 years. In 2015 Europe spent in total around €215bn on crude oil and diesel imports. In 2015 Europe spent in total around €215bn on crude oil and diesel imports.
What makes a truck consumes less fuel? Part of the solution is the way a truck driver actually drives the truck - but a huge part is about the technological options one can purchase with the truck. As a matter of fact truck drivers and hauliers could already save more than 30% of fuel each year, by adding these expensive options proposed by manufacturers.
It started with a meeting in a “cosy hotel” in Brussels back in 1997. Truck CEOs had come together to discuss something that would guarantee huge profits for the years to come. This meeting in a cosy hotel marked the beginnings of a price fixing cartel that would last for the next fourteen (14!) years! MAN, Volvo/Renault, Daimler, Scania, Iveco and DAF all participated and jointly fixed prices and delayed the introduction of emission technologies.
Having more than 13 million trucks on EU roads and dominating the global truck market with a share of 40%, the European trucking industry is enormous. Controlled by five companies, this market will continue to grow in the next decade - read all about their share and their huge economic influence in our report on the economics of the trucking industry.
The EU first signaled it wanted to tackle truck CO2 emissions in 2007. For almost a decade, the Commission remained vague about its plans and focused on developing a test procedure to measure truck CO2 emissions called VECTO.
While the EU originally introduced in 2007 a request to create a legislation via the European Council, in the last 10 years nothing has been concretely done to put a text on the table and vote for a regulation. In the meantime the US passed its own regulation, and even had time to improve it - making today its trucks much more fuel efficient than the ones of the EU.
China adopted its first set of truck fuel economy standards in 2011. Three years later it finalised the second - more demanding - truck fuel economy standard. In May 2016 the Chinese government announced the 3rd phase. The EU is currently the only large developed economy that does not regulate fuel efficiency for trucks.