Wins can be made right now to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions from road freight transport, says Road Transport Forum (RTF) chief executive Nick Leggett.

In its submission on Increasing the use of biofuels in transport, the RTF says the Government should be more decisive and fast acting in enabling tangible progress on reducing GHG.

“Instead of waiting for the perfect heavy truck to be produced that meets their view of decarbonisation – which could be years away and is still largely, in fantasy land – the Government could be acting now with solutions that actually exist to reduce GHG,” Leggett says.

“Acting now will impact what measures need to be taken in future and will enable the existing trucks to be used, rather than have to be scrapped at some point, which is surely the best environmental solution.

“We have previously pointed out to the Government that biodiesel is a solution that could and should be available, and has been used in parts of Europe for several years.

“There are a number of approaches, particularly with fuel and driving, that could be implemented in the short term to reduce emissions. These include fuel efficient driver training, reducing aerodynamic drag, speed management, tyre pressure management, and scheduling and despatch software solutions to reduce travel.

“The industry has suggested such measures in numerous discussion papers and we are getting increasingly frustrated that, rather than get after some tangible returns, the Government appears to continue with some fundamentally flawed policy idealisms and search for an unobtainable nirvana.

“New Zealand’s trucks will move to using fossil fuel alternatives once those alternatives are available via reliable long-term supply, meet performance standards, and are cost competitive. Ultimately the market should decide the direction.

“It may be electric, hydrogen, biofuels, or a combination of all three, plus other solutions. But a full electric and/or hydrogen truck fleet, with reliable energy supply throughout the country, is a long, long way off.

“We believe the Government should provide support to industry wide and sector led initiatives, rather than its tendency to develop its own ideas or support niche products. This is not an area we can put all the eggs in one basket.

“The vast majority of expertise on the feasibility and viability of transport innovation lies within the market and transport sector leadership groups, not with Government,” Leggett says.

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