Climate Change : Heavy duty vehicles: EU Council agrees tougher CO2 emission standards

Eco friendly transportation concept. 3d rendering of a green truck on fresh spring meadow with blue sky in background - 3D Illustration
© wrukolakas -

More than 25% of greenhouse gas emissions from road transport in the EU come from the heavy-duty vehicle sector. CO2 emission standards for certain heavy-duty vehicles were set for the first time in 2019, with targets for 2025 to 2029 and for 2030 onwards, with a review of the Regulation by 2022.

The European Commission presented a proposal to revise the CO2 emission standards for heavy duty vehicles on 14 February 2023. This review forms part of the 'Fit for 55' legislative package. The updated legislation will contribute to the EU's objective of reducing its net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels and achieving climate neutrality by 2050.

Now the Council of the European Union has formally adopted the Regulation on CO2 emission standards for heavy-duty vehicles, which amends and strengthens existing EU rules. The revised legislation further reduces CO2 emissions from road transport and introduces new targets for 2030, 2035 and 2040.

Tougher standards for CO2 emissions will help boost the share of zero-emission vehicles in the EU's heavy-duty vehicle fleet while ensuring that innovation and competitiveness in the sector are maintained and enhanced.

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Wider scope

Under the revised legislation, the scope of the existing regulation will be broadened so that almost all new heavy-duty vehicles with certified CO2 emissions - including smaller trucks, buses, coaches and trailers - will be subject to emission reduction targets.

New emission reduction targets

The new rules maintain the existing 2025 target, which is currently set at a 15% emissions reduction for heavy goods vehicles over 16 tonnes. In addition, in line with the EU's climate objectives for 2030 and beyond, the regulation sets the following new targets

  • a 45% emissions reduction from 2030 (increased from 30%)
  • a 65% reduction in emissions from 2035
  • a 90% reduction in emissions from 2040

These targets will apply to medium-duty trucks, heavy-duty trucks over 7.5 t and coaches, as well as vans from 2035.

Zero emission target for city buses

The new legislation introduces a 100% zero emission target for new city buses by 2035, with an interim target of 90% for this category by 2030. Intercity buses are excluded from this target as they are considered coaches for the purpose of measuring emission reductions.

Next steps

The Regulation will now be signed and published in the EU's Official Journal. It will enter into force 20 days after publication.

The Commission will review the effectiveness and impact of the amended Regulation in 2027.

Among other things, the Commission will have to assess the possibility of developing a common methodology for assessing and reporting the lifecycle CO2 emissions of new heavy-duty vehicles.

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