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The EU Council and Parliament have reached a provisional deal to lower CO2 emissions from heavy-duty vehicles, maintaining the target set last year by the European Commission of a 90 per cent drop in emissions from new trucks over 7.5 tons and coaches by 2040.

“The aim is to further reduce CO2 emissions in the road transport sector and to introduce new targets for 2030, 2035 and 2040. The new rules will contribute to fulfilling the EU’s 2030 climate ambitions and reaching climate neutrality by 2050,” the European Council said in a statement.

The heavy-duty vehicle (HDV) sector is responsible for more than a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions from road transport in the European Union. CO2 emissions standards for certain HDVs were set for the first time in 2019.

On the way to the 90 per cent reduction target by 2040 – compared with 2019 levels – manufacturers of new trucks and coaches will also face a 45 per cent CO2 cut from 2030 and a 65 per cent cut from 2035.

The provisional agreement also introduces a zero-emission target for urban buses by 2035, with an intermediate target of a 90 per cent reduction by 2030.

The deal, backed by EU countries in October, will now be submitted to the member states’ representatives within the Council and to the Parliament’s environment committee for endorsement.

The right wing European People’s Party (EPP), the largest political party in the European parliament, did not support the deal, with its rapporteur Jens Gieseke saying that “the Greens and Social Democrats, backed by the left and liberals … have once again remained true to their prohibition ideology”.

An exemption from the targets will apply to small-volume manufacturers and to vehicles used for mining, forestry and agriculture, by the armed forces and fire services, and in civil protection, public order and medical care.

Trucks in the EU were, on average, 14 years old in 2021, the vast majority running on diesel, according to data published this year by the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association.

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