MEPs Adopt New Rules for More Charging Stations and Greener Maritime Fuels as Paris Increases Parking Charges for SUVs: GMPB

Covered in this week’s Green Mobility Policy Brief: MEPs Approve New Rules to Boost Alternative Fuel Infrastructure; MEPs Adopt New Laws for Green Shipping; Paris Councillors move to increase parking charges for SUVs: Fifteen non-governmental organisations urge the Commission to harness the capabilities of MDMS in order to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and lessen the climate effects of aviation.

MEPs Approve New Rules to Boost Alternative Fuel Infrastructure. The European Parliament has approved new regulations aimed at advancing the adoption of alternative fuel vehicles and reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the transport sector. The rules are part of the “Fit for 55 in 2030 package,” the EU’s ambitious plan to achieve a minimum 55% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. One of the key provisions of the new regulations is the requirement to establish more charging stations for electric vehicles (EVs) along major road networks. By 2026, electric charging pools with a minimum output of 400 kW must be deployed every 60 kilometres on core Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) routes. This distance will be extended to every 120 kilometres for trucks and buses. Additionally, EU member states are obligated to ensure that hydrogen refuelling stations are available at least every 200 kilometres along the core TEN-T network by 2031. To facilitate the adoption of alternative fuel vehicles, the regulations emphasise the need for user-friendly payment systems at recharging points. Consumers will be able to pay easily using payment cards or contactless devices without requiring a subscription. Furthermore, the price of alternative fuels will be displayed per kilowatt-hour (kWh), kilogram (kg), or per minute/session to promote transparency and informed decision-making. Parliament’s rapporteur on alternative fuels infrastructure Petar Vitanov (S&D, BG) said: “Using more sustainable, renewable and efficient energy solutions in the transport sector will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, improve citizens’ quality of life and create new high-quality jobs. The new rules will also help to deploy more charging infrastructure and make it as easy to use as traditional petrol stations.”

MEPs Adopt New Laws for Green Shipping (FuelEU Maritime). The European Parliament has adopted new regulations aimed at decarbonising shipping. Under the approved regulations, ships above a gross tonnage of 5000, responsible for approximately 90% of CO2 emissions, will be required to gradually reduce their emissions by 2% from 2025 to 80% by 2050. Additionally, ships moored at major EU ports will have to use onshore power supply for all their electricity needs starting in 2030, significantly reducing air pollution in ports. If the Commission determines in 2031 that renewable fuels of non-biological origin (RFNBO) constitute less than 1% of the fuel mix, the new regulations, with the help of MEPs, establish a target of 2% renewable fuels usage starting from 2034. The adopted regulations received strong support in the European Parliament, with a large majority voting in favour; 555 votes to 48 against, and 25 abstentions. Parliament’s rapporteur on sustainable maritime fuels Jörgen Warborn (EPP, SE) said: “The new rules set out by far the world’s most ambitious path to decarbonising maritime transport. It targets 90 percent of maritime CO2 emissions while shielding the smallest ship-owners and ports from costs and administrative burden. They make Europe the frontrunner in creating a demand for sustainable fuels and fostering innovation.” Delegation co-chair Cyrus ENGERER (S&D, Malta), said: “The agreement is historic, setting a path to net zero emissions for the first time at international level for the maritime sector. Yet, more should have been done to assure alignment with the 1.5-degree goal. We pushed for the most ambitious targets and while being a step in the right direction, we must now focus on the implementing measures still to be negotiated. Europe must lead the developed world to support developing countries in this green transition and help those islands and coastal regions that are already experiencing loss and damage. It is only by joining forces across the world that we can fight the climate emergency with success.”

Paris Councillors move to increase parking charges for SUVs. SUV owners in Paris will soon face higher parking fees as a result of a motion adopted by elected representatives at the Paris Council meeting on Thursday. The motion, proposed by ecologist councillors, aims to address the issue of “auto-besity” and the increasing size and weight of vehicles. The exact charges and calculations have not been announced. Deputy Mayor David Belliard, responsible for public spaces in Paris, sees this vote as a natural progression due to the declining acceptance of SUVs. He states that more city dwellers view these vehicles as an ecological aberration that occupies space, poses risks, damages roads, and consumes excessive resources. Implementing weight-based charges is also a strategy to combat air pollution, even for electric vehicles. The French Environment and Energy Management Agency (Ademe) explains that the carbon impact of an electric vehicle is closely linked to its weight, which is heavily influenced by battery storage capacity. Additionally, environmentalist Frédéric Badina-Serpette’s motion highlights a 2022 Ademe study indicating that 59% of fine particles emitted by modern vehicles originate from tire, road surface, and brake abrasion rather than exhaust emissions. Under the proposition by the ecologist group, a “social tariff” may be introduced for SUV owners with modest incomes and for large families. Electric vehicles may also be charged at a different rate than their internal combustion engine-powered counterparts when the new fee regime will come into force in January 2024.

Fifteen non-governmental organisations urge the Commission to harness the capabilities of MDMS in order to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and lessen the climate effects of aviation. In an open letter, NGOs including the Campaign for Better Transport, Transport & Environment, Opportunity Green, and the Aviation Environment Federation, have stated that the Multimodal Digital Mobility Services (MDMS) Regulation “must enable consumers to seamlessly combine low carbon transport modes such as rail and bus across borders”, and have criticised DG MOVE’s handling of the ongoing file. The authors write that “for the past two months, the EU Commission’s DG MOVE has seemed to willingly reduce the ambition of this file, despite the much-needed evolution required. DG MOVE’s latest option only requires operators with a share over 50 percent in the domestic market to permit the sale of their domestic tickets on other platforms, therefore excluding cross-border journeys from MDMS.” These developments are, according to the Environmental NGOs,“totally incompatible with the objectives of the European Green Deal”. The MDMS initiative, which was first launched in October 2021, aims to address the challenges associated with purchasing multimodal travel itineraries utilising online booking platforms  and seeks to better integrate public transport and rail services with other forms of transport, such as private air and coach services.