The German Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI) has released a study in May 2009 on the impacts for the environment of the introduction of the longer and heavier vehicles LHVs. Introducing LHVs on European roads would cause far more environmental damage than previously expected, reveals the study. The results of model simulations show that the use of mega-trucks should not be considered a suitable instrument to lower the environmental impact of transport. In fact trucks would replace up to 30% of high-value and container transport volumes on rail. Additionally the authors mention that LHVs would only have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas and air pollutants, in a short-term. When the modal shift to the roads is taken into account, the use of LHVs produces an additional 2 million tonnes of CO2 each year. Moreover the total energy consumption of the freight transport sector would see a rong growth, along with the burden on the environment and on the climate. This study was made in response to the European Commission DG TREN’s report (January 2009) made by the Transport & Mobility Leuven on the effects of adapting the rules on weight and dimensions of heavy commercial vehicles as established within Directive 96/53/EC.
Link: Long-Term Climate Impacts of the Introduction of Mega-Trucks