Green Light for Cleaner, More Fuel-efficient Vans

The European Parliament has given a green light for cleaner, more fuel-efficient vans by voting to introduce CO2 limits in the EU for new vans and other light commercial goods vehicles. The rules, agreed with Member States, include incentives to make highly-efficient vehicles as well as penalties for manufacturers that miss the targets.

If endorsed by the Council of Ministers, the legislation will complement existing CO2 limits for passenger cars. Besides contributing towards better air quality and the EU’s climate targets, the rules should ensure that small firms that depend on these vans get more fuel-efficient ones. The upper weight limit for this category is 3.5 tonnes when loaded.

The rules aim to spur innovation in industry, setting an initial target of 175g CO2/km. Under the terms of an agreed phase-in, the average emissions of 70% of a manufacturer’s fleet must meet this limit in 2014 and the average of all its vehicles by 2017.

The legislation also sets a limit of 147g CO2/km to be achieved by 2020. Manufacturers registering fewer than 22,000 new vehicles in a year may apply for an exemption from the rules.

Vans that emit less than 50g CO2/km will earn carmakers ‘supercredits’ for a limited time, by counting as 3.5 vehicles towards the average in 2014-2015, 2.5 in 2016 and 1.5 in 2017, the last year of the scheme. On the other hand, each new van over the agreed limits will be subject to penalties rising to Eur95 per gram from 2019, which is similar to the penalty set under the legislation on reducing emissions from new cars.

Vans account for around 12% of the European market for so-called light-duty vehicles (passenger cars and vans). Together, these vehicles are responsible for around 1.5% of total EU CO2 emissions.

Once the Council has formally approved the agreement, probably within the next few weeks, the Regulation will be signed into law.

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