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On 06.06.2018, De Lijn announced that it would buy diesel buses for the last time. Flemish bus builders VDL of Roeselare and Van Hool of Koningshooikt had secured a large order from De Lijn for 182 new buses, including 120 hybrid ( partly electric, partly diesel ), 7 fully electric and 55 diesel buses that would be used mainly in Antwerp.

On 11.03.2021, De Lijn already came back on its earlier decision. " It is impossible to drive fully electric in cities by 2025 " it sounded then.

De Lijn now says it risks having to pay millions of euros in fines in low-emission zones as from 2026. In a recent management memo that Flemish newspaper HLN was able to look into, the company's top management listed five concrete proposals to avoid such a loss of millions. What stands out the most is the purchase of additional second-hand diesel buses to allegedly increase electric driving in cities ( which strikes like tongs to a pig ).

" Why does Flemish Mobility Minister Lydia Peeters (Open Vld) want to deploy these in the middle of greening the bus fleet?" wonders HLN.

The answer is simple. Because 1) there is not enough electricity and 2) because electric buses are not as green as claimed. Moreover, 3) all manufacturers are already developing hydrogen-powered means of transport ( including civilian aircraft, trucks and buses ) so there is a real chance that investing in an all-electric rolling stock fleet will be yet another financial drain. In Belgium, they are strong at throwing money down bottomless pits.

Minister Peeters is also the one who decided that new passenger vehicles must be fully electric from 2027. From then on, only second-hand diesel and petrol vehicles will be allowed to be sold.

This is NOT a rule imposed by the EU but a decision of the Flemish government that wants to show a certain elite that it is the best student in the class. This lapidary decision will create quite a few sparks now that it appears that 1 in 3 Flemish people do not want to hear about electric vehicles.

By the way, there is also something to be said about these so-called emission rights.

The Commission has no opinion on how much emission rights should cost. The price depends on supply and demand, as in any other free market. Market intermediaries already come up with prices for allowances offered or bid for. The Commission will not interfere in the allowance market. In case of market distortions, competition law will apply as for any other market

Determining the actual supply and demand for CO2 allowances is difficult. Therefore, the price is largely determined by how market players think supply and demand will be in the future. For example, they look at the economy and political decisions

See also :

In Flanders, there are 3 low-emission zones (LEZ ) in the field of transport : Antwerp, Ghent and Brussels. Possibly this will be expanded at a later stage but possibly not because there is a lot of opposition.

In the aforementioned LEZ, you can still enter the cities with a vehicle that does not or no longer complies with the EURO standard by purchasing a day pass which varies in price but costs an average of 25 euros.

So where is the big lie in De Lijn's story?

The fines it refers to only apply to passenger vehicles that do not (no longer ) meet the EUROnorm. They do not apply to lorries, light trucks and ... buses.

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