Fuel efficiency of heavy duty vehicles used on European roads has not improved in a decade, a report by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) has revealed.
The report by the same group that uncovered Volkswagen's manipulations of nitrogen oxide emissions in testing of diesel-powered cars, stated that while trucks make up only a small percentage of vehicles on European roads, they generate about one third of EU transport-related CO2 emissions.
ICCT said that share of CO2 emissions from trucks has actually been growing in the EU over the past decade, which could be attributed to the growing sales of heavy duty vehicles across the continent.
"Truck-makers claim we can trust them to deliver more efficient trucks," said William Todts, freight manager at campaign group Transport & Environment.
"The reality is that for the last decade they've made virtually no progress in fuel efficiency while for much of that time they are alleged to have operated a cartel. It's high time we shift gears and introduce US-style fuel economy standards.”
While the EU has introduced a limit of 95 grams of CO2 per kilometre for personal cars and vans, no such limit has been put in place for trucks.
In the USA, tighter regulations for truck emissions have been proposed in June this year, aiming to help reduce fuel consumption of trucks by up to 30 per cent compared to 2010 levels.
According to the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA) fuel consumption per tonne-kilometre of today's trucks had been reduced by at least 60 percent since 1965.
"Per tonne transported, this has resulted in fuel consumption of as little as nearly one litre of diesel per 100 tonne-km, delivering a significant reduction of CO2 emissions," said Erik Jonnaert, Secretary General of ACEA, whose members include Daimler, Renault, and Volkswagen.
Jonnaert pointed to a study by the research institute Transport and Mobility Leuven that showed the industry was on track to meet its commitment to reduce fuel consumption from new vehicles by 20 per cent by 2020, compared with 2005.
According to Reuters, the European antitrust regulators have launched an investigation into some of Europe's biggest truck-makers for price fixing and coordinating the introduction of new emissions technologies.
Daimler, Volvo, Iveco, Scania, Man and DAF are among the companies accused of operating a cartel and could face fines of up to 10 per cent of their annual revenue if found guilty.
Truck-related emissions have been targeted by Indian authorities this week, announcing that all commercial trucks more than 15 years old will have to be removed from the roads by April next year.
The country, battling severe pollution on a daily basis, also said it will put in place stricter emission checks to stop the problem from accelerating.
"We are to make 15 years the end of the life for all commercial vehicles," Vijay Chhibber, the top bureaucrat in the transport ministry, told Reuters.
"It (air pollution) will get worse every year unless we do something."