For those involved in haulage work, few EU regulations may have quite the long term impact than that predicted to arise from a set of new standards called “Euro 6”. |
Here’s why that’s likely to be the case.
For professionals in the haulage work business, it’s not exactly news that governments and society at large are determined to do something about the pollution that arises from combustion engine emissions. While huge progress has been made over recent decades and nobody doubts that modern diesel engines are far cleaner than their predecessors, nevertheless, pollution remains an issue. Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs), busses and smaller trucks are all significant sources of that pollution - and that’s why “Euro 6” exists.
Essentially, this is a set of new standards for emissions that came into force across Europe in 2014.
What Does Euro 6 Do?
Scientists and governments are worried about several by-product types of pollution, typically:
• Particles (e.g. soot) • Carbon Dioxide (CO2) • Carbon Monoxide (CO) • Nitrogen Oxides (NOx).
Euro 6 doesn’t offer a radical new piece of technology to help but it does set new measuring standards for vehicle emissions. Perhaps that doesn’t sound like anything too radical, but given that in the past it hasn’t been too clear how emissions were measured and against what baselines, this is a huge step forward.
Truck engines built to comply with Euro 6 should offer more than a 50% reduction in emissions when compared to previous standards.
Is There a Downside?
Almost inevitably, as many in the haulage work industry will know, improvements in engine technologies usually go hand-in-hand with increased cost.
That isn’t cynicism, but a causal relationship. Given the traditional perilous state of margins within the haulage domain, any significant cost increase is likely to be met with cries of dismay by hard-pressed hauliers.
Some point out that the efficiency benefits attained through the application of these new standards in engine design should reduce fuel consumption and thereby reduce hauliers’ costs - but this remains somewhat speculative at this time.
What Are the Benefits?
Like it or not, the haulage industry has been cast in the role of a ‘bad boy’ when it comes to polluters, and this is perhaps not entirely inaccurate or unfair.
Yet the companies and people engaged in professional road transport are also members of society and they have environmental concerns too. The benefits of reduced engine emissions are clear to all and will be welcomed by people engaging in haulage work as well as the general public.
However, the welcome doesn’t deal with the very real problems caused for the industry by the idea of new Euro 6 compliant trucks being significantly more expensive than their predecessors.
That’s why a number of professional associations are pressing the government to switch subsidy funding away from supporting methane fuel development (which some believe to be a dead-end) into subsidising hauliers switching to Euro 6 compliant trucks.
So far this remains just an idea, but many in the haulage work industry will be watching keenly for developments in this area. It may be their only viable short-term route for switching to cleaner vehicles.
Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting logistics professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides services for matching haulage work with available drivers. Over 4,000 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.
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