EU emissions scheme puts pressure on Estonian road transport companies

Trucks on the road.
Trucks on the road. Source: Olev Kenk/ERR

From 2027 onwards, the EU's Emissions Trading System (ETS) will be extended to the road transport sector, leading to an increase in fossil fuel costs. While transport companies in Estonia are investing in ways to cut down on emissions, they also point out, that it is not yet possible to operate using electric vehicles alone.

The EU's Emissions Trading System (ETS) is set to be extended to fuel emissions from the road transport and building sectors in 2027.

"The system will cover fuel retailers who, if they sell fossil fuels, will have to start buying allowances or 'quotas' from the scheme or the market, according to the emissions they produce from burning that fuel. /.../ It may be more expensive for those companies and for those consumers who are forced to use fossil fuels. However, it will not be more expensive for those who are able or willing to make a reasonable investment," explained Silver Sillak, climate advisor at the Estonian Ministry of Environment.

Transport company DSV admitted that the new system will increase their costs. The company plans to reduce its emissions by 40 percent by 2030.

"We will certainly have to use other fuels, which are available for land transport today in the form of HVO (Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil) and biodiesel, which is 10 to 15 percent more expensive than conventional fuels," said DSV chief Alvar Tõruke.

"This may be compounded by taxes that come at local level, that is, from our own national tax policies, as well as tax changes resulting from the European Union's environmental objectives. It is difficult to put a specific figure on that right now. But you don't need to be a very accurate forecaster to know that this will inevitably mean a price surcharge for transport services," Tõurke added.

According to DSV, it is not possible to immediately replace its entire fleet with electric vehicles because the current  infrastructure would not allow it to do so. The same has previously been said by long-distance bus company Lux Express.

"Unfortunately, there is currently no electric mobility technology for long-distance intercity buses. Unfortunately, long-distance buses run on diesel. Naturally, all companies are constantly making major efforts to reduce (fuel) consumption," said Lux Express board member Ingmar Roos.


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Editor: Michael Cole

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