A new European law is set to be introduced to the United Kingdom, which will affect haulage companies throughout the country. While its primary purpose is to protect the environment, it will also indirectly give fleet managers the opportunity to accurately assess a vehicle’s potential fuel consumption before purchase. This in turn will incentivise manufacturers to produce a truck that burns minimal fuel.
The New Law
The law requires truck manufacturers to produce vehicles with reduced levels of fuel consumption, as well as reduced CO2 emissions. What’s more, the government will require the data to be published so that fleet managers can use it to inform their purchase decisions. MEPs have already passed the law, and it is likely to be implemented next year as part of a push to transform the transport sector in Europe and to move towards a greener future within the industry.
There are several detailed reports that will be mandatory, ranging from the aerodynamic performance of the tractor unit to the fuel efficiency score of the engine. The latter is calculated with the Vehicle Energy Consumption Calculation Tool (VECTO), a device that measures the vehicle’s fuel, load and mission profiles so that a relative measurement that is unique to the vehicle and a specific delivery job can be determined.
The new law looks to have several advantages for fleet managers. Firstly, it is believed that an increase in manufacturer transparency will increase points of competition between brands. Those buying vehicles will benefit from the technological improvements and from the lower prices that are likely to arise from the increase in competition. In addition, it will be easier to identify which trucks are most economical to operate by analysing comparative fuel consumption data.
The Road Haulage Association (RHA) has welcomed the new legislation, although it recommends that vehicles manufactured prior to the implementation of the new laws should not be banned if they are still in good condition but have higher levels of CO2 emissions and fuel consumption. Retroactive implementation of these measures could put hauliers and managers under unnecessary pressure. Everyone knows and accepts that environmental improvements are not cheap, but changes that cost small businesses and independent owner drivers money need to be introduced gradually. There is no value in undermining the smaller operators in an industry that is already struggling to find staff to meet demand.
Only time will tell exactly how this new law will affect the British haulage industry. If the predictions are correct, haulage companies can expect better value for money when purchasing new trucks. As drivers and company managers are aware, the more that they can contribute towards reducing the harm that vehicles do to the environment, the more sustainable their industry will be in the long term.
Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides services for matching haulage companies or self-employed drivers with jobs in road transport and haulage work. Over 5,000 member companies are networked together through the Exchange to fill empty capacity, get new clients and form long-lasting business relationships.