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EU governments agree cleaner, safer lorries – but Commission must drive improvements

Representatives of EU governments today accepted a deal with the European Parliament to end brick-shaped lorries, clearing the way for advances in fuel efficiency and safety for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. The agreed law allows lorrymakers to produce new designs but industry lobbyists secured a ban until 2022 even though the new designs are voluntary, not mandatory [1]. The Commission will propose new safety requirements for trucks by amending its vehicle safety regulations by 2016.

European Parliament adopts a weakened fuel quality law after 8 years of fierce lobbying by Canada and Big Oil

The full European Parliament today narrowly approved weak fuel quality rules that fail to discourage oil companies from using and investing in the world’s dirtiest oil such as tar sands and coal-to-liquid. 337 MEPs voted against because they found the rules too weak, more than the 325 who approved them. But it fell short of the qualified majority of 376 needed for rejection. 

Netherlands tops EU ranking of lowest CO₂ emissions from new cars – Germany and Poland the laggards

Green Car Tax rating highlights EU countries with the most and least supportive tax arrangements to encourage low-carbon, fuel efficient cars. Initial registration taxes (purchase taxes) and company car taxes that are steeply differentiated by CO₂ boost the purchase of lower-emissions cars in the Netherlands, Denmark and France.

CO2 emissions from new cars in Europe: Country Ranking in 2013

Sketch of a book (default image for publications

This report is part of the eighth annual report T&E has published on progress in reducing CO2 emissions and improving the fuel efficiency of cars. This document focuses on average new car emissions in different Member States and highlights the effectiveness (or otherwise) of their different taxation policies in encouraging the purchase of lower carbon cars.The principal responsibility to reduce CO₂ in line with the Regulation falls upon the carmakers. Each carmaker has a target for the CO2 emissions of the new cars it sells in 2015 and 2020/1. However, there is much that Member States can do to help (or hinder) progress through the policies that they adopt nationally. Substantial differences in the rate of progress of companies are mirrored by the Member States, principally because of differences in the ways cars are taxed across the EU. While some countries have made conspicuous efforts to improve the fuel economy of their new cars, others have done very little to support the aims of the cars and CO₂ legislation.In 2013, the top six best performing countries all achieved annual emissions reductions of new cars of more than 5% (Netherlands, Greece, Slovenia, France, Finland and Bulgaria). In contrast the laggards, including Sweden and Poland, achieved less than 2.5% improvement in average CO₂ emissions from 2012. Countries with low average emissions typically have initial registration taxes (purchase taxes) and company car taxes that are steeply differentiated by CO₂. Annual circulation taxes are a modest driver of fuel efficiency even if they are graduated according to CO2 emissions, and high fuel taxes alone have a limited influence on the efficiency of the cars being bought – but do impact on the overall level of car use and fuel consumption.Low levels of diesel tax encourage higher proportions of diesel car sales and more vehicle use. Fuel should be taxed on the basis of its energy content with similar rates of excise duty applied to gasoline and diesel fuels to avoid market distortions leading to dieselisation.To see a sample analysis of the performances of six Member States, download the factsheets here:DenmarkFranceGermanyNetherlandsSwedenUnited Kingdom

Company cars’ paradise: ‘If it seems absurd, it’s because it is!’

Three Belgian NGOs have handed in a petition to the country’s federal parliament aimed at getting the Belgian government to end its favourable treatment of company cars. The three NGOs, including T&E member Bond Beter Leefmilieu (BBL), collected 25,000 signatures protesting about a fiscal regime in Belgium that makes it more lucrative for employers to pay their staff through company cars and company fuel than by giving them more money.

Aviators' boss 'confused' about airline efficiency: the impact of the oil price slide

The rapid slide in oil prices, down 41% since June, has left the aviation industry struggling to defend its continuing high fuel surcharges and continuing reports of record profit. Here is IATA's director general, Tony Tyler, updating his stance on oil prices in light of recent developments.

EU agrees on safer, cleaner lorries - but by 2022

The 28 EU governments and the European Parliament last night reached a deal to end brick-shaped lorries, which are inefficient and very dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians. The agreed law gives manufacturers the ability to produce more streamlined, safer and fuel-efficient lorries but, amid heavy lobbying by industry, sets a delay until 2022 [1] before redesigned lorry cabs are allowed on Europe’s roads. Member State representatives still need to formally approve the deal at a COREPER meeting on December 17th.

EU Parliament passes law to make ships report climate emissions

For the first time, all shipping companies calling at EU ports will have to measure and publicly report carbon emissions under a law approved by an overwhelming majority of the European Parliament’s Environment Committee today. Sustainable transport group Transport & Environment (T&E) says that the law is weak – it only monitors fuel consumption instead of directly reducing it, and only covers CO2 and not air pollutants like SO2 or NOx – but it can still trigger fuel savings indirectly.

MEPs’ rejection of weak fuel quality rules sends strong signal for post-2020 cleaner fuels plan

Today’s vote by members of the Environment Committee against the proposed fuel quality rules sends a strong message to the European Commission that its implementing measures are too weak and fail to discourage oil companies from using and investing in the world’s dirtiest oil. The vote also reinforces MEPs’ support for a strong implementation of the Fuel Quality Directive’s (FQD) decarbonisation target and its continuation after 2020.

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