Renewable fuels are "one of the most rapid and economically viable" ways to decarbonise HGVs, according to the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP).

Its new 'Renewable fuels guide' says these green fuels can immediately cut greenhouse gas emissions from commercial vehicles for which few other solutions are currently available to help meet the UK’s net zero emissions target.

With electrification of long distance, heavy road freight still some way off the LowCVP argues that the quickest way to cut emissions is to adopt renewable fuels such as biodiesel and biogas.

HGVs produce around 15% of total road transport greenhouse gas emissions with long-haul vehicles accounting for most of those.

The guide, produced by the LowCVP and Cenex with the support of CNG Fuels and Scania, shows how the adoption of renewable fuels from sustainable feedstocks offers one of the most rapid, and economically viable, routes to lowering emissions for such vehicles, both new and those already in service.

The guide provides fleet operators with an overview of the range of low carbon and sustainable fuels currently available in the UK, with a focus on high blend biofuels for use in commercial vehicles. It demonstrates the business and environmental case for their adoption using case studies from operators including McDonalds and John Lewis.

The Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation already requires large UK retail fuel suppliers to ensure that a minimum of 9.75% of the fuel they supply comes from renewable sources this year, rising to 12.4% by 2032.

The latest figures show that 4.9% of total road fuel supplied in the UK currently is from these sources, with nearly 70% coming from waste feedstocks.

LowCVP’s head of projects Gloria Esposito said: “The next decade is going to be critical for mitigating road transport greenhouse gas emissions if we are to meet the 2050 net zero target. Public and private sector fleet operators are under growing pressure to reduce the carbon footprint of their own activities and those of their suppliers. Renewable fuels can provide an immediate and cost-effective solution to achieving such savings, especially for HGV fleets.

“Low carbon and sustainable fuels have an important role to play in the near and medium-term to reduce emissions from the commercial vehicle sector, particularly as electric and hydrogen fuel cell solutions in these applications present significant challenges and are at early stages of development."