The Ministry of the Environment has introduced a proposed regulation under which the public sector and state enterprises will soon be required to procure only environmentally friendly buses, trucks and passenger vehicles.
The regulation would require the public sector and state enterprises to take into account the energy and environmental impact of a road vehicle or service — including energy consumption and CO2 and pollutant emissions —in the public procurement of road vehicles, according to a ministry press release.
The proposed regulation would also cover services such as public transport road services, special-purpose passenger road transport services, non-scheduled passenger transport services as well as specific postal and package services and waste collection services.
The ministry has submitted the draft regulation for a round of approvals and is currently awaiting feedback from stakeholders.
According to Minister of the Environment Erki Savisaar (Center), the regulation should have a positive effect on the market for clean and energy-efficient road vehicles as well as increase the transport sector's contribution to Estonia's climate and energy policy, promote the use of local renewable transport fuels such as biogas and biomethane, and accelerate the uptake of green hydrogen.
"With this regulation, we will encourage the wider use of passenger vehicles, trucks and buses with low energy consumption and low carbon dioxide and other pollutant emissions, thus providing the necessary impetus for innovation and the development of new technologies in both fuel production and infrastructure development," Savisaar said.
He noted that the use of low- and zero-emission vehicles, as gas, hybrid, hydrogen and electric buses, trucks and light-duty vehicles is becoming increasingly common in Estonia, and added that urban air quality is improving.
According to the ministry, the regulation should increase demand for clean fuels, as biomethane and biogas or hydrogen produced from local raw materials could be used successfully in public transport.
"We would also solve other environmental problems, and support the circular economy and the move toward climate neutrality," Savisaar added.
Biomethane and biogas can also be used in other production, such as heat production, and the infrastructure needed to transport them could later be used in the transition to hydrogen. "The sector will clearly increase local competitiveness and provide employment," the minister added.
According to market forecasts, the purchase price of environmentally friendly road vehicles will continue to fall. Lower operating and maintenance costs have already made the total cost of environmentally friendly road vehicles competitive. The expected fall in prices, however, will further reduce barriers to the availability and deployment of environmentally friendly road vehicles in the coming decade.
These changes are also being supported by a number of other accompanying developments, such as the obligation to install an electric vehicle charging network in new residential buildings, which will greatly facilitate the use of electric passenger vehicles.
Editor: Aili Vahtla