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Trucks with a liquefied natural gas (LNG) engine pollute the air up to five times more than diesel cars. It does not matter whether the trucks run on fossil natural gas or on biomethane ('green gas').
Editorial office / Brussels

This is one of the conclusions from recent TNO research, commissioned by the Dutch government. The results contradict truck manufacturers’ claims that gas trucks reduce nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions by more than 30%.

TNO tested three LNG trucks in a combination of urban areas, regional routes and highways. It turned out that they emit 2 to 5 times more NOx than the cleanest diesel truck. This is important now that thousands of construction projects are being halted in the Netherlands because of the possible pollution of nature reserves caused by NOx emissions.

The particulate matter emissions from the tested gas trucks are comparable to those from diesel cars. These findings are in stark contrast to the claims made by truck manufacturers that LNG trucks emit virtually no particulate matter.

Tax breaks

According to the European environmental organization Transport & Environment (T&E), EU governments are wrongly stimulating the use of polluting LNG trucks with (compared to diesel) extremely low tax rates, subsidies and exemptions from tolls. LNG as a transport fuel is not taxed at all in Belgium. In the Netherlands, diesel is charged 3x as much as LNG per energy unit. In Italy it’s even 189x as mucht.

Stef Cornelis, clean trucks manager at T&E, concludes: “The simple fact is that LNG is a fossil fuel, just like oil and coal, so it has to be phased out.” Biomethane has no fossil origin. The production of this gas made from biomass therefore offers advantages in the area of ​​CO2-emissions. However, since is is chemically identical to LNG, the ​​NOx and particulate matter emissions remain the same.