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Low carbon fuels have an important role to play for heavy-duty vehicles

Ahead of the upcoming vote of the European Parliament Environment Committee (ENVI) on the regulation for setting carbon dioxide (CO2) emission targets for new heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs) FuelsEurope, IRU and NGVA Europe highlight in a joint statement the importance of an integrated and comprehensive approach when considering effective measures to help the decarbonisation of this critical part of the transportation sector.

According to a joint statement from FuelsEurope, a division of the European Petroleum Refiners Association, World Road Transport Organisation (IRU) and the Natural & bio Gas Vehicle Association (NGVA Europe), European trucks sector represented a circulating fleet of some 6.5 million vehicles, moving 14 billion tonnes of goods annually, delivering some 72 percent of all land-based freight in Europe, or 90 percent of the total value of goods.

The importance of the sector to the EU economy is clear and is growing, and today 98 percent of heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs) use fossil diesel fuel and account for 5 percent of the total EU greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Low carbon transportation fuels, in particular, renewable gaseous and liquid fuels, can play a fundamental role in creating an effective path toward net zero emissions mobility.

Thus, the trio argue, these fuels support the future evolution of the heavy-duty transport sector by helping decarbonisation while reducing other air pollutant emission levels, especially in urban areas, in parallel to any progressive shift to electrical road vehicle powertrain systems.

Gas fuelled light- and medium-sized commercial vehicles from IVECO (left) and Scania.

A future scenario clearly shows the evolution from a well-established system based on conventional engines and fuels to a more composite one, where internal combustion engines and electric powertrains – from hybrid to full electric –will co-exist, supported by more sophisticated fuels coming from conventional fossil fuels to low-carbon including renewable and e-fuels.

This new scenario urgently requires an updated system that is able to take into account and encourage the impact from the introduction and use of low-carbon fuels including renewable and e-fuels with regard to future decarbonisation targets.

Call to support Carbon Correction Factor

For these reasons FuelsEurope, IRU and NGVA Europe urge that the European Parliament Environment Committee (ENVI) supports the adoption of proposals aiming to take into account the quality of the fuel and to particularly consider the introduction of a Carbon Correction Factor (CCF).

In such a way, tailpipe carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions deriving from fuel consumption will be corrected with the resulting CO2 impact from the use of low-carbon/renewable fuels.

The system to certify the amount of low-carbon renewable and e-fuels used, for example over a calendar year, will avoid any potential risk of “double counting”, ensuring transparent accounting of net CO2 emissions from the road transport sector.

The signatories say that the adoption of such a proposal is strategic, in order to include and enhance the wider use of low carbon fuels, including renewable gaseous, liquid and e-fuels, that will complement the progressive contribution from the development of sustainable and affordable electrified powertrain. Such low-carbon fuels can show immediate and positive benefits in terms of lower CO2 emissions from the entire circulating fleet.

Renewable diesel fuels offer a drop-in available now fuel replacement for fossil diesel-powered heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs).

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