T&E study: +133% emissions from goods transport vehicles in December

A new analysis by Transport&Environment that estimates the overall impact of road deliveries of consumer goods (excluding food) for Christmas

In December, the growth of logistics activities related to the trade of traditional Christmas gifts will produce an increase in polluting emissions in Europe. In fact, nitrogen oxides and CO2 from road freight transport will both grow by 133% compared to the average levels recorded in the other months of the year. This was revealed by a new analysis by Transport&Environment (T&E) which estimates the overall impact of road deliveries of consumer goods (excluding food) for Christmas.

According to the environmental organization, the extra amount of greenhouse gases is equivalent to the amount released by 9,500 round-trip flights from Paris to New York; while nitrogen oxide emissions will grow by 10,300 tons.

The solution to the problem, according to T&E, “would already be available and consists in the replacement of polluting vehicles with zero emission trucks. For this reason, EU decision-makers must give a clear mandate to the manufacturers of logistics vehicles to start the mass production of electric trucks as soon as possible”.

“Freight transport by road is a highly polluting activity whose impact increases enormously during the Christmas period – declares Andrea Boraschi, Clean Vehicles Manager of Transport & Environment Italia – Zero emission trucks represent an effective alternative and are ready to make their entrance in the markets and on the streets. If the European Union adopts the right policies and sends the necessary signals to producers to stimulate real mass production, these clean vehicles could quickly establish themselves as the cheapest and most sustainable option for the benefit of the air that we breathe and the climate”.

By analyzing the main international trade routes, Transport&Environment highlights how goods purchased for Christmas travel on average only 10% of the kilometers needed to reach the points of sale on trucks; that small fraction on the road, however, is the source of about half of total emissions. 45% of the CO2 associated with the itinerary of a gift traveling from China to Rome, for example, derives exclusively from road transport. And it is still a heavy road vehicle, the organization points out, that is responsible for 51% of the emissions released along the way of a Chinese shipment delivered to Warsaw or 60% of a shipment destined for Madrid. Zero-emission vehicles could drastically reduce the climate burden of road transport.