MEPs approved a draft law setting out rules to reduce the CO2 emissions of new light commercial vehicles sold in the EU to 147g CO2/km by 2020, from the current 203g.

Ministers also proposed indicative targets for post-2020 CO2 emissions at a range of 105g to 120g from 2025.

Rapporteur Holger Krahmer said: “I welcome the committee’s confirmation of the target of 147g for 2020, as agreed three years ago”.

However, MEPs rejected tightening the 147g/km vans target for 2020 which, according to Transport & Environment (T&E), has been widely regarded as much weaker than the equivalent target for cars.

In April, the Committee voted for new cars sold to achieve an average fuel economy of 95g/km by 2020 from the current 130 grams.

“Calls for a more ambitious target should be rejected. If we change targets too often, manufacturers will lack certainty as to the law” said Krahmer after the vote.

Since 2010, business organisations have called for the target to be strengthened, while, according to T&E, recent research has shown the original 147g decision was based upon wrong information about how much CO2 vans were thought to emit and exaggerated costs of reducing this.

In an open letter to MEPs in February, the European Small Business Alliance, EuroCommerce, Athlon Car Lease International and T&E called for a review of the Regulation and for the European Parliament to set a more ambitious 2020 target of 118g/km.

However, the Committee’s decision to limit the speed of vans to 120kph has received more support and has been welcomed by consumers and transport associations.

Consumer surveys in Germany, Italy, the UK and the Netherlands have shown strong public support for the measure.

According to T&E, limiting van speed will encourage supply of smaller engines, reduce average van fuel consumption and emissions by at least 6%.

T&E clean vehicles policy officer William Todts said: “Vans were the only commercial vehicles that were not speed-limited. Limiting the speed of vans to 120kph will save fuel and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This is a good day for drivers, responsible businesses and the environment.”

Leigh Stringer

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