Hauliers driving emissions-free trucks will get at least half off road tolls in the EU under a new tolling system given the go-ahead by transport ministers this week. Fossil fuel trucks will be charged based on their CO2 emissions, with more efficient heavy-goods vehicles paying less. Green group Transport & Environment said that, if agreed by the EU parliament, the new Eurovignette law will speed up the transition to zero-emissions freight and help alleviate air pollution in cities.
Transport ministers said zero-emission trucks, which are electrified or run on hydrogen, would get at least a 50% discount on charges by April 2023¹. Countries can even give discounts of up to 100% for zero-emissions lorries, as is already the case in Germany, until the end of 2025. After 2025, countries can offer discounts of between 50% and 75%, as is already the case in Austria.
James Nix, freight manager at T&E, said: “This is a breakthrough for green truck tolling. Heavy-goods vehicles will have to pay more if they emit more, and hauliers who invest in emissions free trucks will see their costs tumble. In negotiations the European Parliament should also push for the polluter pays principle to be extended to noise and air pollution without exception.”
With regional delivery electric trucks becoming increasingly available, T&E said the toll discounts will help speed up the transition to e-mobility by slashing the costs of hauliers who buy them. Annual tolling costs can reach up to €25,000 per truck, or one-quarter of the total cost of owning the vehicle.
Trucks are responsible for 23% of EU road transport emissions. EU ambassadors are expected to rubber stamp today’s agreement on 18 December. Trilogue negotiations between governments and the EU Parliament on the final law are expected to begin in early 2021.
¹ Transport ministers propose to give the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark and Luxembourg one additional year to implement CO2-based charging, i.e. until April 2024, due to the links between the current toll legislation of these countries.