Further CO2 Emission Reductions From Cars and Vans

The European Commission has put forward proposals to implement targets that will further considerably reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from new cars and light commercial vehicles (vans) by 2020. The proposals will cut average emissions from new cars to 95 grams of CO2 per km (g CO2/km) in 2020 from 135.7g in 2011 and a mandatory target of 130g in 2015. Emissions from vans will be reduced to 147g CO2/km in 2020 from 181.4g in 2010 (the latest year for which figures are available) and a mandatory target of 175g in 2017.

The mandatory targets for 2020 are already envisaged in existing legislation but require implementation. Following thorough technical and economic analysis by the Commission, the Regulations just proposed establish the modalities by which the targets would be achieved.

The Commission’s analysis shows that the 2020 targets are achievable, economically sound and cost effective: the technology is readily available, its cost is substantially lower than previously thought and its implementation should boost employment and GDP and benefit consumers and industry.

Each new car will on average save its owner around Eur340 in fuel costs in the first year, and an estimated total of Eur2904-3836 over the car’s lifetime (13 years), as compared with the 2015 target. For vans the average fuel cost saving is estimated at around Eur400 in the first year and Eur3363-4564 over their 13-year lifetime.

Overall, consumers will save around Eur30 billion per year in fuel costs and it is estimated that the targets could increase EU GDP by Eur12 billion annually and spending on employment by some Eur9 billion a year. The proposals would in total save 160 million tonnes of oil – worth around Eur70 billion at today’s prices – and around 420 million tonnes of CO2 in the period to 2030.

The European automotive industry is considered a global technology leader, largely due to its substantial investments in innovation in combination with a demanding home market. The Commission’s impact assessment of the proposals shows the sector has a large capacity for innovation and enjoys a substantial comparative advantage over competitors.

The 2020 targets offer a clear and stable legal environment for investment, and will further stimulate innovation by vehicle producers and component suppliers, further strengthening the EU industry’s competitive advantage. The introduction of similar CO2 or fuel efficiency standards in third countries would increase demand for CO2-reducing technologies and more efficient cars made in Europe. 

The proposals will be submitted to the European Parliament and the Council for discussion and adoption under the normal legislative procedure. The proposals would amend two existing Regulations establishing binding requirements for manufacturers to meet the 2015 mandatory target for cars and the 2017 target for vans. Implementing measures for the Regulations are already in place and CO2 emissions from new vehicles are monitored annually.

The proposals represent a further contribution towards meeting the EU’s goal of cutting overall greenhouse gas emissions to 20% below 1990 levels by 2020 and moving towards decarbonising the transport sector, in line with the EU’s climate change policy and the Transport White Paper. Cars and vans together account for around 15% of EU CO2 emissions, including emissions from fuel supply.

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