The EU has agreed to decrease CO2-emissions from trucks, buses, and trailers

The European Union (EU) has agreed to decrease carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from trucks, buses, and trailers. Negotiators from the EU Council and the European Parliament have reached a provisional political agreement on CO2 emission standards for heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs). The primary goal is to reduce CO2 emissions in the road transport sector and establish new targets for 2030, 2035, and 2040. These measures are designed to align with the EU’s climate ambitions for 2030 and its objective of achieving climate neutrality by 2050.

The proposal also aims to promote a growing share of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) within the EU-wide heavy-duty vehicle fleet. This includes smaller trucks, urban buses, coaches, and trailers while ensuring the sector’s preservation and enhancement of innovation and competitiveness. The agreement is provisional and awaits formal adoption by both institutions.

Regulatory Scope

The agreement expands the regulation’s scope to cover nearly all new heavy-duty vehicles with certified CO2 emissions, encompassing smaller trucks, urban buses, coaches, and trailers. Exemptions from CO2 reduction targets will apply to small-volume manufacturers, vehicles used in mining, forestry, and agriculture, those utilized by the armed forces and fire services, and vehicles for civil protection, public order, and medical care.

The provisional agreement also extends the regulation’s scope to vocational vehicles like garbage trucks or concrete mixers, with further consideration for smaller lorries (under 5t) in the future. It addresses the issue of retrofitted vehicles (conventional vehicles converted to ZEVs) by allowing the transfer of such vehicles between manufacturers. The Commission is tasked with assessing the need for harmonized rules to approve retrofitted HDVs by 2025.

New Emission Reduction Targets

Aligned with the EU’s climate objectives, the Council and Parliament maintained the Commission’s proposed targets for 2030 (45%), 2035 (65%), and 2040 (90%), in addition to the already established 2025 reduction target of 15%. These targets apply to heavy trucks over 7.5t and coaches. For trailers, the agreed targets are 7.5%, and for semi-trailers, it is 10%. The introduction of the term ‘e-trailers’ aims to provide legal clarity and adapt regulations to technological developments in this new type of trailer.

Next Steps

For endorsement, the provisional agreement will be presented to member states’ representatives within the Council (Coreper) and the Parliament’s environment committee. Upon approval, the text will undergo formal adoption by both institutions, following a review by lawyer-linguists, before being published in the EU’s Official Journal and entering into force.


The heavy-duty vehicle (HDV) sector accounts for over 25% of greenhouse gas emissions from road transport in the EU. CO2 emissions standards for certain HDVs were initially set in 2019, with targets for 2025 to 2029 and 2030 onwards, subject to review by 2022. While not part of the ‘Fit for 55’ package, this proposal is closely linked, contributing to the EU’s goal of reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels and achieving climate neutrality by 2050.

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