The French Fédération Nationale des Transports Routiers (FNTR, or National Road Freight Federation) has issued a proposal to reduce CO2 emissions in freight transport. In the document (called Grenelle de l'environment), FNTR requests the authorities to modify certain legal aspects which would help make operations less polluting .
Some proposals are quite unexpected. For instance, FNTR wants to ban any freight truck to speed over 80 km/h (50 mph). Currently, trucks can increase speed to 90 km/h (55 mph) in order to pass slower vehicles. The reality is that most of trucks keep the higher speed, so it would be necessary to enforce this policy. Another interesting proposition is allowing the maximum weight to be raised to 44 tons (up from France's current 38 ton limit), which would potentially reduce the number of trucks on the road (albeit not a huge number of them).
Then there's the issue of the tolls, which are really frequent in France. FNTR wants the toll barriers open for trucks, thus reducing stop times, although electronic tolls are already widespread (called télépéage in France). How about rail transport? Switzerland forces heavy trucks to be carried on wagons when crossing the country, why not something similar? The fact is that railway freight is very underdeveloped in most of Europe, so there's room for progress.
The document also claims for the widespread use of biofuels. Whereas biodiesel is quite available in France, it isn't yet so widespread as one might think.
Finally, FNTR also asks for economic incentives of about 5000 EUR to purchase cleaner vehicles, free eco-driving courses for professionals and, in general, to raise awareness in the sector to make it as clean as possible. FNTR estimates that these measures would save 12 million tons of CO2 per year.
[Source: FNTR via Moteurnature]