A new law requiring truck manufacturers to measure and publish the CO2 emissions and fuel consumption of new lorries has been given the green light by MEPs.

The new law, which is expected to come into force next year, could see the cost of new trucks slashed by increasing competition between manufacturers, encouraging greater innovation and giving fleet operators greater information on which to base their purchasing decisions.

Under the legislation, manufacturers will have to make public the aerodynamic performance of the tractor unit of the truck, as well as its engine fuel efficiency.

These will be measured using an EU Commission-approved simulation software which measures the CO2 emissions and fuel consumption of HGVs for specific loads, fuels and mission profiles. Known as the Vehicle Energy Consumption Calculation Tool (VECTO) the software will also be used to measure the performance of new trailers from 2021.

The new law will be reinforced by a verification procedure, which will include on-the-road testing of heavy-duty vehicles in production and in service. The EU is also proposing that independent third parties, as well as public sector agencies, will be able to run the verification procedure.

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Manufacturers who fail to report the data or falsify the results will be subject to a system of administrative fines.

The legislation is part of a wider strategy to cut HGV emissions, increase fuel efficiency and modernise Europe’s transport sector.

Announcing the provisional deal, climate action and energy commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete said: "This agreement is proof of Europe's firm intention to curb the growing CO2 emissions from heavy-duty vehicle.”

He added: “With this new robust, reliable and transparent monitoring and reporting system, we are on track for the next step: CO2 emissions standards for heavy-duty vehicles to be proposed in May 2018."

Transport and Environment (T&E), the European campaign group for cleaner transport, said fleet operators will see significant benefits from the new law.

“European truck-making is set for stronger competition with hauliers better able to choose the trucks that are the most fuel efficient.

"Ambitious and well-designed truck standards are now needed. They will save hauliers money, help Europe meet its climate targets and kick start zero emission trucking,” said Stef Cornelis, T&E cleaner trucks officer."

However RHA policy director Duncan Buchanan told MT: ‘We have no problem with the introduction of new standards on emissions but what we can’t have is these new standards applied retrospectively to perfectly good existing vehicles, which then make that vehicle obsolete.

"This is something we have already seen happening under clean air zones, where operators will be forced to scrap perfectly good Euro-5 vehicles.”

The legislation is due to go back before MEPs for final approval at the end of this month.