The EU Environment Council has reached an agreement on a proposal to update regulations on carbon dioxide (CO2) emission standards for heavy-duty vehicles, with agricultural vehicles being exempt.

The aim of the proposal is to further reduce CO2 emissions in the road transport sector in targets set for 2030, 2035 and 2040, but the effectiveness of the amended regulation will be reviewed by the European Commission in 2027.

Among the conclusions is that targets relating to the reduction of emissions from heavy-duty motor vehicles will not apply to agricultural vehicles.

The proposal however, expands the scope of the regulation to make almost all new heavy-duty vehicles with certified CO2 emissions, including smaller trucks, urban buses, coaches and trailers subject to emission reduction targets.

Vehicle emissions

The proposal clarifies that the targets do not apply to special purpose, off-road, off-road special purpose, and vocational vehicles, such as mobile cranes, forestry or agricultural vehicles.

For these vehicles, the CO2 emissions are not determined and therefore these vehicles do not have to meet the CO2 targets set in this regulation.

There are further exempt vehicles, such as:

  • Mobile cranes;
  • Carriers of hydraulic multi-equipment or exceptional load transport vehicles;
  • Off-road vehicles, such as certain vehicles used for mining, forestry and agricultural purposes;
  • Vocational vehicles such as waste trucks, tippers or concrete mixers;
  • Vehicles for use in civil protection, public order and medical care;
  • Vehicles for use by the armed forces and fire services.

The same applies for vehicles with non-standard axle configurations, such as:

  • Vehicles with more than four axles or more than two driven axles;
  • Small buses with a maximum mass lower than 7.5t;
  • Small lorries with a maximum mass lower than 5t.

The proposed amendment introduces a 100% zero-emission target for urban buses by 2035, while setting an intermediate target of 85% for this category by 2030.

The council agreed to exempt inter-urban buses from this target.