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Future measures for fuel savings in heavy utility vehicles - toward definition of thresholds

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Complete with results
Geo-spatial type
STRIA Roadmaps
Transport mode
Road icon
Transport policies
Deployment planning/Financing/Market roll-out
Transport sectors
Passenger transport,
Freight transport


Background & Policy context

The transport sector is currently responsible for approx. 30% of final energy consumption and 20% of greenhouse gas emissions in Germany. In this context, road transport accounts for the largest share. In recent years, road freight transport in particular has steadily increased. Transport services of heavy-duty vehicles rose by 26% between 2000 and 2010. Heavy- duty vehicles (HDVs and buses >3.5 t GVW) account for about a quarter of the energy consumption in road transport at present. Current projections expect substantial increases of HDV transport in the future (2010 to 2030: +30%) and distinctly slower growth for passenger cars (+10%).

Compliance with climate change mitigation goals and the minimisation of final energy consumption requires a substantial reduction of the fuel consumption associated with heavy-duty vehicles. The European Commission is devising strategies for the reduction of CO2 emissions from heavy-duty vehicles in collaboration with its member states and published an initial Key Issues Paper in May 2014. One vital prerequisite for vehicle-related strategies is the standardised quantification of CO2 emissions from heavy-duty vehicles. The EC is currently developing an appropriate test method. The designated simulation-based approach (VECTO) should be available for application for certain vehicle categories shortly.


The objective of the present study is the estimation of energy and greenhouse gas emission reduction potentials of technological efficiency measures that are not yet established in heavy-duty vehicles in Europe. All calculations performed seek to comply with the EC test method. The reduction potentials and associated costs are both identified and evaluated.


To achieve the above mentioned objectives,

  • Important current or future efficiency technologies relevant for heavy-duty vehicles were selected;
  • Technology-specific reduction potentials (energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions) of individual technologies and their combinations were calculated with the CO2 emission simulation tool (VECTO), the future tool for heavy-duty vehicle certification;
  • An evaluation of the cost efficiency for vehicle operators as well as an analysis of specific greenhouse gas abatement costs for the selected technologies was performed;
  • Existing impediments for the application of available technologies were analysed. Based on these results, political strategies for the future advance of fuel-efficient and greenhouse gas reducing technologies for heavy-duty vehicles were devised.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety; BMUB
Type of funding
Public (national/regional/local)
Funding Source
Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB)


In the first work package, energy-saving and greenhouse gas reduction potentials of selected vehicle technologies in the fields of powertrain, aerodynamics, rolling resistance and optimisation of vehicle weight, engine auxiliaries and vehicle control systems were analysed. This was using VECTO the designated simulation-based approach for the standardised quantification of CO2 emissions from heavy-duty vehicles in Europe.

The second work package included the analysis of changes in vehicle costs accompanying the use of these technologies, including primarily additional investment costs and fuel cost savings. GHG reduction potentials and cost changes of individual technologies as well as measure packages were consolidated in a cost-benefit matrix. On this basis, cost efficiency of the measures for GHG mitigation was assessed for different reference periods.

Many energy-saving and greenhouse gas-reducing technologies for heavy-duty vehicles already available on the market find limited application and are used by only a fraction of vehicle operators. In consequence, the scope of the present study included the discussion of political strategies to promote the introduction and establishment of such technologies

Findings of the study are published in detail by a final report (German only) which is available online via the German Environment Agency (UBA):

In addition, an English summary is available via:


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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