Recent analysis by the European Environment Agency (EEA) has reported an increase in greenhouse gas emissions from passenger cars and heavy goods vehicles in line with the growth in transport volumes on Europe’s roads over the past two decades.
The EEA assessment ‘Decarbonising road transport — the role of vehicles, fuels and transport demand’ is part of the ‘Transport and environment reporting mechanism’ (TERM) series of annual assessments and focuses on greenhouse gases. According to EEA data, between 2000 and 2019, CO2 emissions from passenger cars in the 27 EU Member States increased by 5.8 %, while emissions from heavy goods vehicles increased by 5.5 %. This was due to growing transport volumes and despite advances in fuel efficiency and an increase in biofuel usage.
Passenger mobility and haulier preferences are yet to change in Europe. Both transport types have maintained and increased their volumes on the road systems, and the efficiency of vehicles’ CO2 emissions, and shifts to greener transport modes, need addressing.
Electric vehicles are set to play an important role in improving our air quality. Increasing the volume of these engine types will help to decarbonize passenger and freight logistics, although the EEA assessment reports that efficiency-gains are not the simple solution to the greenhouse gas problems. Ride-sharing, fuller cargo loads and encouraging the use of public transport, cycling and walking are also required to decarbonise Europe’s mobility system.