Environmentalists want combustion trucks banned by 2035

Environmentalists want combustion trucks banned by 2035

Trucks and buses are only 2% of the total vehicles that circulate on our roads, but in 2020 they were responsible for 28% of CO2 emissions from road transport in Spain.

According to the study carried out by Transport & Environment (T&E), even considering the current CO2 emission reduction targets that apply to truck manufacturers, Spanish trucks and buses would nullify all the emissions savings expected from electric cars and vans. by 2036. This is due to the expected increase in activity. CO2 emissions from heavy vehicles increased by 29% between 1990 and 2019 in Spain. Truck activity in Spain is expected to increase by another 40% between 2020 and 2050 and bus activity will triple (+201%) in the same period, according to the European Commission.

For Carlos Bravo, responsible for road freight transport at T&E in Spain: “Transport is the biggest climate problem in Europe and Spain, and trucks have a very important responsibility in this regard that continues to increase. In Spain, polluting trucks will offset all the emission savings achieved through the electrification of cars and vans in the 2020s and half of the following decade, unless the EU modifies the current regulations in line with its climate objectives ».

The environmental organization understands that ending sales of new trucks with combustion engines in 2030 in Europe would be the best bet for the climate, but the necessary reductions could be too drastic to implement without risking the continuity of the activity. Therefore, according to the T&E emissions model, 2035 is the latest feasible date to reach 100% sales of zero emission vehicles, if we want to meet the goal of zero emissions by mid-century. The 2035 scenario would only leave a small number of diesel vehicles (which would have already passed the average retirement age) on the roads in 2050. On average, trucks have a useful life of 18 years in Europe.

They also consider that setting the limit in 2040 would be too late, as trucks would emit 644 million tonnes more CO2 by 2050 than they would in the 2035 scenario. That figure would constitute 4% of the total remaining carbon budget of the EU, and would be equivalent to the current annual road transport emissions of Germany, France, UK, Italy, Spain and Poland combined. Postponing the end date of combustion engines to 2040 for these heavy-duty vehicles would also force lawmakers to take drastic and costly steps to retire the 20% of the truck fleet that would still run on diesel in 2050 in that scenario.

The study also found that if ambitious CO2 targets were applied in the EU in 2030 that would allow reaching the goal of zero emissions in 2035, truck manufacturers would be pushed to meet their electrification commitments. The 2035 “sales end date” T&E scenario would see 659,000 zero-emission trucks on European roads in 2030, a figure in line with what was announced by truck manufacturers. Diesel consumption by European trucks and buses would be reduced by 9% by the end of the decade.


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