Regulation on CO2 emission targets for heavy goods vehicles and buses: the Council has moved in the right direction, but significant risks remain

16/10/2023 |Articles are machine translated

IVECO truck. | Photo: IVECO

The Automobile Industry Association sees the general approach of the Council of the European Union as a move in the right direction. At the same time, however, we have serious concerns about the proposed objectives and approach, which remains very ambitious but also lacks flexibility. On the contrary, we consider the exemption of all long-distance and suburban buses and the postponement of the commitment to fully emission-free urban buses by five years to 2035 to be a significant step in the right direction.


“We have to commend Transport Minister Martin Kupka for pushing through rational adjustments, despite considerable political and opinion “outnumbering” in the Council of Ministers. His proposed modifications have led to a relaxation of the strict emission targets for long-distance, intercity and city buses, a segment which, from the Czech Republic’s perspective, is the world and European leader in the number of buses produced per capita,” says Zdeněk Petzl, Executive Director of the Association of the Automotive Industry.


Although Member States have taken into account some industry concerns, the emission targets set for trucks and buses remain overly ambitious.

The Council’s lack of support for a technology-neutral approach and only marginal mention of CO2-neutral fuels cannot be overlooked. This will prevent their full use to meet decarbonisation targets through the carbon correction factor. This is particularly bad news for biofuels, which are a tried and tested and functional technology and could have made a significant contribution to meeting the targets with their share in the European mix.

We also consider it inadequate to bring forward the review clause for evaluating the effectiveness of measures by one year without the Commission submitting annual monitoring reports. Only on the basis of these could an informed assessment be made as to whether the EU’s infrastructure is indeed ready for the ambitious targets or whether they should be revised.

The true decarbonisation of road transport requires a comprehensive approach that includes not only setting ambitious targets for vehicle manufacturers at EU level, but also intensive support for infrastructure development, including fiscal measures. Without these measures, which need to be taken at the level of each individual Member State to economically incentivise transport operators and users to switch to cleaner vehicles, the objectives of the Regulation will not be met, with negative impacts on markets and the threat of loss of GDP and jobs.

“We would like to remind you that more than 78% of goods and passenger transport in the EU takes place by road. The proposed changes will not only affect manufacturers, but also hauliers and, ultimately, consumers and businesses, who will face price increases for goods and services. Without sufficient incentives, whether on the charging infrastructure or tax measures, it will be difficult to persuade operators to switch from conventional to zero emission vehicles.” says Zdeněk Petzl, Executive Director of the Automotive Industry Association.

The opinion of the European Parliament is now awaited and we therefore call on MEPs to support technology neutrality and responsible regulation with regular review of the targets set.


Ing. Tomáš Jungwirth
Ing. Tomáš Jungwirth

Communications Manager

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