Deutsche Umwelthilfe laments the real emissions of new trucks on the roads and demands a rethink.
Logistics companies have been adapting to the new challenges in freight transport for years. Fleets are constantly being renewed as older trucks are no longer allowed to enter many low emission zones in Europe. Usually only EURO 5 and EURO 6 vehicles are allowed, i.e. trucks that are not older than approx. 10 years.
Shortly before the HGV summit, the German Environmental Aid Organisation (DUH) published measurements which classify even new HGVs as exhaust gas emitters, as the nitrogen oxide emissions of about every second HGV are probably above the legally prescribed limits for these standards. According to the DUH, the reason for this is either defective exhaust gas purification systems or shutdown devices used by the vehicle owner, which then lead to increased exhaust emissions during road operation. The black sheep who cheat with such methods could become a disaster for transport companies in Europe. The DUH is calling for subsidies for freight transport by road to be drastically reduced and for a switch to rail. They sharply criticise the purchase premium for EURO6 trucks desired by Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer. The organisation cites Switzerland as a model for freight transport by rail, where as much as 70% is transported by this route in the Alps and 37% in the lowlands. In Germany the figure is only 18%. The DUH also criticises the lack of controls on the motorways, which could put dirty lorries out of circulation.
The transport minister is therefore obliged to do something about the polluters. Such controls could indeed ensure that trucks which comply with the rules can continue to circulate on the roads in Europe. Otherwise, in view of the European Commission's legal action against Germany for excessive nitrogen oxide levels, bans on EURO 5 trucks might soon be threatened, which would hit freight forwarding and logistics companies hard.
It is only a matter of time before the traditional truck disappears, as the German government decided yesterday on the future of heavy goods vehicles. By 2030 a third of traffic must be carried by hybrid trucks, E-trucks, hydrogen trucks or via the planned 4,000km of overhead lines.
Where in Germany and Europe diesel driving bans are already in place and where you can still drive your truck safely, you can find out in our Green-Zones App and on our website green-zones.eu.