Last month the European Commission continued its drive towards reducing carbon emissions by releasing a low-emission mobility strategy. The strategy identifies key transportation initiatives of the European Commission and areas in which it anticipates future studies, guidance, and, ultimately, regulations and standards.

Key areas of focus include:

  • Creating a market for zero-emission vehicles. The Commission is encouraging research and development on zero-emission vehicles and low-emission transportation through the European Structural and Investment Fund, Horizon2020, and other programs.
  • Making the transport system more efficient. This includes developing and implementing the Cooperative Intelligent Transport systems (C-ITS), a communication system between vehicles and infrastructure previously discussed on the blog.
  • Promotion of the use of low-emission energy in transport. The Commission is considering incentives on use of advanced biofuels, electricity, hydrogen, and other alternative fuels.

Of note, the Commission pointed to the significant share of carbon dioxide emissions from commercial vehicles such as trucks, buses, and coaches, and is investigating fuel efficiency standards for these types of commercial vehicles. Trucks, buses, and coaches are currently subject to air pollution standards, but not fuel efficiency standards. There is also not a carbon dioxide monitoring scheme for such vehicles.

In response to the strategy release, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (“ACEA”) noted the differences between commercial vehicle manufacturing and passenger cars, and cautioned that “CO2 reduction policy for heavy-duty vehicles should [] not follow the same approach as that for passenger cars.” To further gather information on how to curb emissions from commercial and industrial vehicles, the ACEA is working with the Commission on a computer simulation tool to model CO2 emissions from a “wide variety of complete truck and trailer configurations.” This will enable better analysis of how to impact emissions from commercial vehicles.