The Danish government has changed the rules on the country’s oil industry taxation in a way that will mean the state’s income from fossil fuels will increase, and the additional revenue must be spent on reducing fossil-fuel dependence. Specifically, taxes on smaller oil producers will rise, and the money has to be spent on electrifying the country’s rail network.
An analysis of market forecasts for low-carbon cars suggests the take-up of electric vehicles will have a very slow take-up over the next decade. The analysis, Powering Ahead by the Ricardo-AEA consultancy, says the total number of plug-in hybrid and pure battery-powered cars being sold each year in the UK by 2020 will not exceed 200 000 and may even be as low as 40 000.
The gap between what cars emit in reality and what they are officially measured as emitting has grown to nearly a quarter, and continues to grow. A report by T&E says this gap and its growth is caused by car makers’ manipulation of testing procedures, and it explains how this is done. T&E says the current test regime is not fit for purpose, a new test should replace it by 2016, and follow-up checks should be carried out on cars to show their results are consistent with the official test results.
A report commissioned by T&E and Greenpeace suggests the EU can more than halve its existing carbon dioxide emissions from new cars with existing technology. The report, by the British consultancy Ricardo-AEA, says the right mixture of electric, hybrid and conventionally-fuelled cars will enable Europe to reach a target of 60 grams per kilometre from the average new car in 2025.
Efforts to reduce traffic noise across Europe suffered a setback earlier this month when MEPs voted to weaken current noise limits for sports cars and lorries. The outcome of the vote hinders moves to bring EU vehicle noise levels into line with World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations for safe limits. T&E says MEPs have put pressure by the automotive industry ahead of the health of citizens.
The EU transport commissioner Siim Kallas has floated the idea of the EU legislating to oblige member states to provide more charging points for electric vehicles. The proposal came as part of a ‘Clean Power for Transport’ package launched last month that looks to encourage a greater take-up of alternative-fuel vehicles by the public. T&E said it was ‘a small but largely welcome step’ in the right direction.
Opinion by our Director, Jos Dings
A new year has come, full of new challenges and opportunities. Fortunately, for now, Europe seems to have averted the worst emergencies. This should allow for some less ad-hoc and more strategic thinking about recipes to get ourselves out of the woods.
MEPs are voting for more sustainability with one hand and unsustainable projects with the other. That is the message from a group of NGOs after MEPs voted to strengthen sustainability safeguards for infrastructure projects that could receive EU funding, but at the same time voted to support certain transport projects that will take Europe further away from its sustainability goals.
The World Carfree Network has written to the Commission to express concern about the future of cross-border rail services after a mass of cutbacks in international trains. It says the new timetable that came into effect on 9 December saw an end to all direct trains between Barcelona and Milan, Barcelona and Zurich, Bucharest and Belgrade, and Brussels and The Hague. There are also severe cutbacks in other transnational services, notably in the six countries of the former Yugoslavia.
"The role of the Commission in advancing the road pricing agenda cannot be underestimated", T&E Director Jos Dings stated at the Conference on fair and efficient road pricing organised by the European Commission on 5 Dec:
Road pricing is progressing because the list of its advantages is impressive. No wonder ever more countries in Europe are choosing for road user charging, and we are having a conference about its future.