The European Union has finalized its first ever regulations of heavy automobile CO2 emissions, thus wrapping up the current generation of climate laws. Overall emissions from heavy vehicles are to be cut by 30% by the end of 2030 with a 15% benchmark as a stepping stone in 2025. Producers that will not comply with the rules will face an “emissions premium” fine. Following the lead of Japan and the United States, the new regulations are Brussels’ first try at regulating heavy automobiles.
Europe has been reliant on fuel efficiency standards prior to finalizing this new set of laws. Negotiators compromised on the initial proposal by the European Commission of 15% and 30%. The EU Parliament had lobbied for targets of 20% and 35% while the EU member states supported the Commission’s figures. With this new set of laws, the new target will become binding but it will be revisited in 2022 when MEPs and clean mobility advocates will push for a more ambitious number. So far, the new regulations have been embraced even by the strictest proponents of environmental regulations such as the Netherlands.
However, the European Association of Auto Suppliers warned that it would “be difficult to achieve the targets at this highly-challenging level for all actors involved”, adding that legislation has to look at trailers and synthetic fuels. The European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) reiterated its concerns as well, denouncing the targets for being too ambitious, and calling upon the member states “to urgently step up their efforts to roll-out the infrastructure required for charging and refuelling the alternatively-powered trucks which will need to be sold en masse if these targets are to be met.” A few countries, mostly in Central and Eastern Europe, had threatened to only comply with the overall CO2 regulations if the sales goals were decreased.