A new push towards gas-powered HGVs was started today as the Department for Transport set out papers and recommendations on their use to lower carbon emissions, cut fuel costs and potentially improve air quality.
Transport News Brief repoarts thate the recommendations were drawn up by the Low Emission HGV Task Force which includes industry stakeholder members such as the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), Freight Transport Association (FTA) and Road Haulage Association. SMMT led a report for the Task Force that set the groundwork for the reforms in 2012.
As part of a range of new and emerging technologies, the Task Force considers the use of natural gas and biomethane in HGVs as an important part of reducing carbon emissions from freight operations. This option is particularly important in the regional and long-distance freight sectors, where there are a limited number of realistic technological options for substantial CO2 reduction in the short to medium-term.
“Delivering certainty for investment in this alternative fuel is crucial to its development over the coming years,” said Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive. “Now, with government support, investment in the necessary infrastructure, vehicle and technology developments can be made with greater confidence.”
Throughout its liaison with government, the Task Force made clear the benefits of increasing the use of natural gas and biomethane. Beyond CO2 reductions there are wider benefits including lower fuel costs for operators, improved energy security (through less reliance on diesel) and potential reductions in air pollution.
The Chancellor has already acknowledged the need to incentivise a move to gas and has guaranteed the duty differential for gas to 2024.
While welcoming the differential, the FTA is urging Government to do more, Climate Change Policy Manager Rachael Dillon saying, “There is a lack of public refuelling infrastructure for gas vehicles which limits progress. Additionally, biomethane supplies need to be secured for the transport sector.”
Key recommendations from the Task Force are to support a new refuelling infrastructure and to remove financial and legislative barriers by reviewing incentives, including concessions for methanol, and to consider how incentives can best be provided in light of EU directives.
The Task Force also says Construction and Use Regulations should be reviewed to incorporate fuels such as hydrogen, LNG, CNG and liquefied and compressed biomethane.
The full set of papers and recommendations are available here.