By Peter Jenkins
Across India, trucks and heavy commercial vehicles are far outnumbered by two-wheelers, three-wheelers, and passenger cars. But when it comes to the health and environmental impacts of India’s transport sector, it is a different equation. Though constituting only 5% of India’s on-road fleet, Heavy Duty Vehicles (HDVs) like trucks and buses account for 70 per cent of fuel consumption, and over 70 per cent of particulate matter emissions, with significant health consequences. In 2015, there was an estimated USD 20 billion (~INR 128 crore) loss in health damages and 74,000 deaths across India caused by transportation-sector pollution – with over 66 per cent attributable to on-road diesel vehicles such as heavy-duty trucks.
In decarbonising the heavy-duty truck fleet, India has a strategic opportunity to improve air quality and address health impacts in tandem with other national priorities around energy security and industrial competitiveness. Ahead of COP26, the 2021 United Nations Climate Change conference, setting targets for Zero-Emission Commercial Vehicle (ZECV) deployment that include HDVs can also help India achieve its climate goals established under the Paris Agreement.
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