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Survey reveals: European Union has a vital role to play in the future of road freight

Goodyear calls for cross-industry co-operation to support fleets investing in a sustainable future for the road freight industry.

Key findings:
· Biggest challenges for fleet probability: fuel costs (40%), hiring and retaining drivers (25%) and regulations (11%)

· 76% of fleets are investing in driver’s training to increase fuel-efficiency

· 68% fleets want to see investment in road maintenance

· 51% support use of larger trucks

· 68% favors harmonisation of regulations

A new survey of Europe’s road freight industry commissioned by Goodyear reveals that the regulatory regime is of vital importance to truck fleets operating in Europe. The survey of nearly 600 fleet managers in eight European markets shows that regulations have a big impact on how fleets can increase their profitability and sustainability. Aside from the cost of fuel, the impact of regulation is the most commonly cited issue by fleet managers. The impact of regulation is mostly felt by smaller fleets – a quarter of fleets of between 20-50 trucks cited European Union rules as having the biggest impact on their business after the cost of fuel. The challenge of hiring and retaining staff is also of importance. With the average age of drivers rising, this issue will have increasing impact in coming years.

The survey, commissioned by Goodyear, reflects the fact that the road freight industry is investing in the future. It also reveals that many fleets are supportive of the European Union´s ambitions to reduce carbon emissions. 76% of fleets have trained their drivers to drive more fuel-efficient and over half of fleets ensure they are using the most fuel-efficient trucks. While fleets are concerned about high fuel taxes, only a quarter of fleets are actively calling for a reduction in CO2 related laws. This reflects the fact that fleets’ efforts to reduce fuel costs are in tune with the European Union´s green agenda.

As fleets are investing in the future, they are eager for the European Union to play its role in supporting the industry. Given the impact of road conditions on fleets’ efficiency, 68% wants to see investment in road maintenance. Over half of fleets would welcome incentives for greener vehicles and for fleets investing in aerodynamics and fuel-efficient tyres (60%). There is also support for allowing larger trucks across Europe (51% agree). Overwhelmingly (68% in favor, 14% against) the road freight industry wants to see more harmonisation of regulations.

As the new European Parliament plans its agenda for the next four years, it is vital that Members of the European Parliament, together with the European Commission, look at how they can continue to support the road freight industry.

"Our survey indicates that far from objecting to the European Union´s approach to reducing carbon emissions, the industry understands the need to become even more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly. As the newly elected European Parliament and College of European Commissioners convenes, we will be drawing their attention to the major challenges facing Europe’s road freight industry. It is vital that the regulatory regime supports fleets to become ever more sustainable", said Michel Rzonzef, Vice President Commercial Tyres at Goodyear Europe, Middle East and Africa. "The insights gathered from our survey will provide the basis of a substantive White Paper which Goodyear will launch at a major symposium on 14th October 2014 in Brussels. We are looking forward to sharing our findings and recommendations with legislators, fleet managers and the wider industry at this event."

Goodyear’s upcoming symposium on the future of mobility follows on from its event in 2012, which focused on fuel-efficiency. This year’s symposium will bring together key policy makers from across Europe as well as leading industry figures and fleets. The 2014 research builds on Goodyear’s long-term commitment to invest in clear insights from data and new thinking to help shape the future of road transportation in Europe.

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