EU votes for greener trucks
Lorries in Europe could be getting more aerodynamic and fuel-efficient under new rules approved by the European Parliament on Tuesday.
Existing laws passed in 1996 established weight and length limits, but these can now be exceeded if new designs improve a lorry's overall environmental impact and safety.
Possible design upgrades – which include sleeker, rounded cabins and aerodynamic flaps – could reduce the fuel consumption of long-distance road haulage by 7-10%.
Lorry emissions are repsonsible for around a quarter of all transport emissions, which in turn are reponsible for approximately a quarter of total EU emissions.
Red lorry, green lorry
The agreement also introduced an additional weight allowance (up to 1 tonne) for alternative fuel powertrains/engines, which should encourage take-up of greener technologies.
The European commissioner for transport Violeta Bulc said: "Today's final backing by the European Parliament is a significant achievement, which takes us one step closer to having better lorries on our roads.
"This will lead to fewer emissions and casualties on our roads and lower fuel costs for hauliers. It will also allow the industry to produce new lorries and to remain competitive on the global market. "
The new rules could also lead to the standardization of containers, allowing them to be moved between trains, ships and lorries more easily
In the EU, transport relies on oil and oil products for about 96% of its energy needs. The projected 7-10% reduction could save hauliers approximately €5,000 per year in fuel costs for a typical long-distance lorry covering 100,000km.
The changes must still be formally approved by the EU Council, but lawmakers have called it a formality.
Snacks manufacturer United Biscuits has been one of the most active UK firms in trying to reduce its haulage impact, running the 12 lorries in its fleet on waste cooking oil.
Sustainable transport at Sustainability Live 2015
The evolution of transport technology will be discussed in detail at Sustainability Live 2015 in April, with a session at the Energy Efficiency theatre focusing on biofuels, hydrogen and electrification and how this roadmap can be used to time fleet upgrades and changes.
The seminar will also use a series of case studies to explore both technologies, employees engagement, alternative transport modes and fleet optimisation.