Harmful levels of air pollution are endemic in European cities, especially close to roads, causing 400,000 premature deaths annually and costing the EU a whopping €1 trillion a year. This paper focuses on the role played by diesel cars in the air pollution crisis and identifies obsolete tests and optimisation strategies by car manufacturers as the reasons they have failed to deliver real-world improvements. It explores the Commission’s proposed new real-world driving (RDE) test, which is to be implemented for new Euro 6 standard vehicles, and outlines a timetable to address important issues relating to air pollution from cars.
It is impossible to have missed the news on cheap oil and gas, and what it is doing to our economies. A Google search for ‘oil price drop’ shows you what Reuters, BBC, Bloomberg, Forbes, etc – the big boys – have to say on the subject. And shale plays a key role in both. And indeed, oil costs less than it did in 2008 and 2012. And indeed, this is having a big economic impact. It means that Europe in 2014 saved around 1% of GDP, more than €100 billion, in import bills. A free and welcome boost. But this column is not seeking to add to what Reuters has to say. It wants to offer two other perspectives.
When people think about American trucks, the image that springs to mind is a massive Coca-Cola truck with a big nose. These massive rigs don’t seem particularly efficient and for a long time Europeans made fun of the big-nosed US mammoths. Some European manufacturers even boasted about how they sold out-dated technology in the US. This is about to change.
The European Commission is coming under increasing pressure to propose new car fuel economy targets for 2025 after news that carmakers which account for three-quarters of sales in Europe are on track to meet their goals for 2021.
Electric vehicle (EV) sales grew to 67,000 vehicles in 2014, up from just 700 in 2010, which T&E’s analysis found was partly the result of more major car companies offering EV models in the market. However, they still only represent 0.5% of the total annual sales, in part as a result of limited supply of models (just 20 are available). Some manufacturers – most notably Ford and Fiat – are not supplying any models.
While new cars sold in 2014 averaged CO2 emissions of 123g/km, according to the How Cleans are Europe's cars 2015? report, real-world emissions are much higher and reductions in CO2 are happening considerably slower than depicted. Now T&E is warning that the cheating will continue to undermine progress even after a new test, the Worldwide harmonized Light vehicles Test Procedures (WLTP), is introduced.
The EU is facing calls to work with the US government to ensure global standards being developed to regulate aviation’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are effective – after the US Environment Protection Agency (EPA) finding last month that emissions from aircraft endanger human health.
Bioenergy accounted for more than half of all renewable energy demand in Europe in 2014, according to projections just released by the European Commission. Burning biomass and biofuels account for 47% and 9%, respectively, of renewable energy, versus 11% from wind, 17% from hydro and 7% from solar.
The International Road Union, The European Express Association, Leaseurope, CLECAT, Green Freight Europe, The Northern Logistics Association, European Transport Board and Transport & Environment call on the European Commission to give a much-needed boost to competition on truck fuel efficiency, in a letter sent today to Commission officials.