Transport & Environment director Jos Dings addressed a hearing in the European Parliament on 4 November, 2014. He laid out T&E's position on European road toll systems for private vehicles, including environmental, financial, technical and privacy concerns. His remarks are available to download.
This briefing looks at the main features of the 2014 proposal too implement Article 7a of the Fuel Quality Directive (FQD). Despite weakening – due to intense lobbying by the Canadian and US governments and oil companies – some of the elements of the 2014 proposal are worth implementing and strengthening, such as the new reporting of crude oil imports by market crude oil names (MCONs). In addition, the 2014 proposal gives fuel suppliers new ways to meet the FQD target, such as promoting low-carbon electricity used in transport.
If your new Mercedes car swallows 40% more fuel than the brochure promised, it’s not due to your heavy-footed driving. Rather it’s because Mercedes are the current leaders at manipulating the way vehicles are tested, producing official fuel economy figures in the labs that cannot be replicated in the real world. That’s the findings of Transport & Environment’s (T&E) 2014 Mind the Gap report, which analyses real-world fuel consumption by motorists that highlights the abuses by carmakers of the current tests and the failure of EU regulators to close loopholes.
This paper details how the current system of testing cars to measure fuel economy and CO2 emissions is not fit for purpose. The gap between test results and real-world performance has become a chasm, increasing from 8% in 2001 to 31% in 2013 for private motorists. Mercedes cars have the biggest gap between test and real world performance, and less than 20% of the improvement in emissions measured in tests of Opel/Vauxhall cars is realised on the road.
To understand the grievous concerns about the safety of lorries on our roads you only need look at their record in my country, Britain. HGV accidents, especially those involving cyclists, are a key issue for transport in the UK at the moment. In London, lorries were involved in over half of cyclists' deaths even though they only made up 5% of traffic in both 2011 and 2012. HGVs were involved in 51% of fatal collisions on UK motorways – even though they only made up 11 per cent of motorway traffic in 2012.
On 1 November, some key provisions of the Lisbon Treaty enter into force: namely, the root-and-branch reform of the voting weights of member states in the Council of Ministers. Their impact will be quite dramatic.
EU governments last week agreed three modest targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions, increase the share of renewable energy and improve energy efficiency by 2030. Environmental groups said the goals would not do enough to cut Europe’s dependence on fossil fuels and put it on track to meet its own 2050 climate pledges.
The European Parliament voted last week to approve a college of commissioners with much to prove in terms of its commitment to environmentally-sustainable policies and effective measures to fight climate change. The Commission was formally accepted by the European Council on Friday morning.
The Commission finally published rules to implement the Fuel Quality Directive (FQD) last month, but environmental campaigners say they will fail to discourage oil companies from using and investing in higher-polluting oil such as tar sands and coal-to-liquid.
Hungarian NGOs are calling on the Commission to enforce its own regulations, after police raided the offices of a foundation coordinating the distribution of money from western Europe to Hungarian NGOs. T&E’s member organisation the Clean Air Action Group is one of the NGOs that have suffered from a climate that is making it increasingly difficult for civil-society groups to operate in Hungary.