Acción por el Clima

Reducing CO2 emissions from heavy-duty vehicles


Lorries, buses and coaches produce around a quarter of CO2 emissions from road transport in the EU and around 5% of the EU’s total CO2 emissions. Action is needed to curb these emissions.

On 17 May 2018, the European Commission presented a legislative proposal setting the first ever CO2 emission standards for heavy-duty vehicles in the EU.

The proposed targets for average CO2 emissions from new lorries:

  • In 2025, 15% lower than in 2019
  • In 2030, at least 30 % lower than in 2019 (indicative target, subject to review in 2022)

The proposal also includes a mechanism to incentivise the uptake of zero- and low-emission vehicles, in a technology-neutral way.


The proposal will:

  • contribute to the achievement of the EU's commitments under the Paris Agreement,
  • reduce fuel consumption costs for transport operators – mostly SMEs – and consumers,
  • help maintain the technological leadership of EU manufacturers and suppliers.

Expected benefits include:

  • Around 54 million tonnes of CO2 reduced in the period 2020 to 2030 – equivalent to the total annual emissions of Sweden.
  • Savings at the pump amounting to around €25 000 in the first 5 years of use for a new lorry bought in 2025 and up to about €55 000 in the first 5 years of use for a new lorry bought in 2030.
  • Oil savings of up to 170 million tonnes of oil over the period 2020 to 2040 – worth around €95 billion at today's prices.
  • GDP increases resulting in the creation of around 25 000 new jobs in 2025.

CO2 emission reduction targets

In 2025, the average CO2 emissions of new heavy duty vehicles will have to be 15% lower, compared to 2019. This target is mandatory and can be achieved using technologies that are already available on the market.

In 2030, emissions have to be at least 30% lower. This target is aspirational, giving long-term direction. It will be reviewed in 2022 to incorporate additional information on the new technologies needed to meet this target.

As a first step, the CO2 emission standards are proposed for large lorries, which account for 65% to 70% of all CO2 emissions from heavy-duty vehicles.

In 2022, the scope will be extended to include other vehicle types such as smaller lorries, buses, coaches and trailers.

Accelerating the uptake of zero- and low-emission vehicles

Today, about 98% of our lorries rely on diesel. There are virtually no large zero emission lorries on European roads, and few zero emission buses in cities. At the same time, almost all manufacturers have announced plans for zero emission vehicles.

The Commission proposes to support these technologies and foster innovation through an incentive system which complements the Action Plan on batteries.

This system of super credits will reward those manufacturers who will invest more in innovative technologies, while preserving the environmental integrity of the CO2 targets. It also includes zero-emission buses which are needed for cleaner air in cities.

Cost-effective achievement of targets

The proposal includes several elements to support cost-effective implementation:

  • Banking and borrowing to take account of long production cycles, including a reward for early action, while maintaining the environmental integrity of the targets.
  • Full flexibility for manufacturers to balance emissions between the different groups of vehicles within their portfolio.
  • Vocational vehicles, such as garbage trucks and construction vehicles, are exempted due to their limited potential for cost-efficient CO2 reduction.

Strengthening market surveillance and ensuring compliance

The following measures are proposed to ensure the effectiveness and enforcement of the targets, based on the experience from cars and vans:

  • Collect, publish and monitor real-world fuel consumption data reported by manufacturers, based on mandatory standardised fuel consumption meters
  • Introduce in-service conformity tests and mandate the reporting of deviations and the introduction of a correction mechanism
  • Apply financial penalties in case of non-compliance with the CO2 targets

Contributing to EU climate goals

The proposed legislation will contribute to achieving the EU’s goals under the Energy Union strategy and the 2030 framework for climate and energy.

The standards will help Member States achieve their targets under the Effort Sharing Regulation, which concerns emissions from sectors outside the scope of the EU emissions trading system, including road transport.

Consultation of stakeholders and the public

Stakeholders were involved at various stages in the development of this proposal, e.g. through a written stakeholder consultation (results here and summarised in Annex 2 to the impact assessment).

The legislative proposal has been submitted to the European Parliament, the Council, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions for further consideration under the ordinary legislative procedure.

The public has the possibility to provide feedback on the legislative proposal after it was adopted by the European Commission.

Related policy measures

The legislative initiative is part of the Commission’s third “mobility package” and complements policy measures such as the Certification Regulation, Monitoring and Reporting Regulation, EU type-approval system, Eurovignette Directive, Fuel Quality Directive, Clean Vehicles Directive, Directive on maximum authorised weights and dimensions and Directive on the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure.

Monitoring and reporting of CO2 emissions from lorries

The following measures enable the implementation of the proposed emission standards:

The monitoring and reporting Regulation requires that, as of 1 January 2019, lorry manufacturers monitor and report annually to the Commission the CO2 emissions and fuel consumption of each new vehicle they produce for the EU market.

This information will be calculated using the new Vehicle Energy Consumption Calculation Tool (VECTO), in application of the certification Regulation.

According to the certification Regulation, manufacturers will have to determine the CO2 emissions and fuel consumption of new lorries above 7.5 tonnes.

The scope is set to be amended in the future to also cover smaller lorries and buses and coaches. This would allow to also monitor data from these vehicle categories.

The collected data on CO2 emissions and fuel consumption together with other relevant technical information on the vehicles, including the aerodynamic drag, will be made publicly available by the European Environment Agency on behalf of the Commission, starting in 2020 to cover data monitored in 2019.

The new system will complement the existing EU reporting system for cars and vans.

More information on the Commission proposal for a monitoring and reporting system is available in this memo.

Vehicle Energy Consumption Calculation Tool (VECTO)

The information required for monitoring and reporting will be calculated using the Vehicle Energy Consumption Calculation Tool (VECTO).

VECTO is a simulation software that can be used cost-efficiently and reliably to measure the CO2 emissions and fuel consumption of high duty vehicles for specific loads, fuels and mission profiles (e.g. long haul, regional delivery, urban delivery, etc.), based on input data from relevant vehicle components.

The tool has been developed by the Commission in close cooperation with stakeholders.

For more information on VECTO, see Annex 12 of the impact assessment.


Commission proposal on CO2 emission targets for new heavy duty vehicles

Monitoring and reporting of CO2 emissions from heavy duty vehicles

Commission strategy for reducing CO2 emissions from heavy duty vehicles


Studies addressing CO2 emissions from Heavy-Duty Vehicles