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

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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

2014 Mind the Gap report: manipulation of fuel economy test results by carmakers

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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.

Realistic real-world driving emissions tests: a last chance for diesel cars?

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Air pollution emissions limits for cars, vans and trucks (Euro Standards) have been progressively tightened, on paper, over 25 years but have failed to deliver real-world improvements for several key pollutants, notably nitrogen dioxide. This is because obsolete tests and “cycle beating” techniques have been used by carmakers leading to levels of emissions from some cars many times higher on the road than in laboratory tests. In October 2014, the Commission will be discussing progress and next steps with EU member states. This paper outlines key issues for member states to ensure that the new real-world (PEMS) tests are robust and representative of real-world driving in order for emissions to decline on the road. 

How clean are Europe’s cars 2014 – Part 1

The EU set legally-binding targets for new cars to emit on average 130 grams of CO₂ per kilometre (g/km) by 2015 and 95g/km by 2021. This briefing, the first part of T&E’s ‘How clean are Europe’s cars 2014’, analyses the official data from the European Environment Agency on progress towards these targets made by carmakers in 2013. The second and third part of the report will cover electric vehicles and supercredits as well as the gap between carmakers claimed fuel economy and the real world figure.

Tackling real world emissions from cars

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Light duty vehicles (LDVs) emit more pollutants on the road than in laboratory conditions. In order to solve this problem the Commission decided to introduce complementary type-approval procedures to measure gaseous and particulate emissions during real driving to make sure that they are similar to legal emission limits. To achieve this, the Real-Driving Emissions-Light Duty Vehicles (RDE-LDV) working group was created in 2011. Work in this group is currently focused on RDE tests during initial type approval.

This paper has been prepared by T&E to aid the work of this group. The paper considers the main topics of discussion: data analysis methods, boundary conditions, conformity factor, equipment (portable emissions measurement system – PEMS) and scope.

Particle emissions from petrol cars

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Vehicle tests show that without the use of gasoline particulate filters (GPF) the number of particles emitted from gasoline direct injection (GDI) engines is likely to exceed future European emissions limits, known as Euro 6 standards. Nowadays, particle emissions from these new petrol engines are higher than equivalent diesel vehicles. The cost of a filter to eliminate particle emissions is low (around €40), with no fuel economy penalty. Despite this, carmakers are delaying fitting filters on GDI cars and instead rely on manipulating tests. Their reluctance is worsening urban air pollution and reducing the health benefits of the new limits.

Tackling emissions from diesel machines

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European air pollution rules for diesel machines such as bulldozers, excavators and barges are much more lax than those for cars and lorries. As well as this, some engine types and older machines are excluded from air pollution law. This is a problem because, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), diesel exhaust is carcinogenic. Ambitious, comprehensive and consistent rules are needed to limit air pollution emissions from non-road mobile machinery (NRMM - diesel machines). These are required to address the growing urban air pollution that Europe faces. T&E believes that future EU legislation on diesel machines must be in line with emissions limits for equivalent road vehicles.

Vehicle noise: final trilogue negotiations

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Traffic noise is the second-biggest environmental factor affecting Europeans’ health after air pollution. Almost half of EU citizens are regularly exposed to road traffic noise over the level that the World Health Organisation considers to pose a serious risk to health. Noise pollution has been linked to 50,000 fatal heart attacks every year in Europe. This briefing outlines the European Commission, Parliament and Council positions on a proposal for new vehicle noise standards ahead of a third round of trilogue negotiations on 5 November, 2013. It also outlines T&E's analysis of the main issues as well as its recommendations for a compromise that avoids legal and technical loopholes.

Vehicle noise: impact of Commission, Parliament and Council positions

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Traffic noise is the second biggest environmental factor affecting Europe’s health after air pollution. Almost half of EU citizens are regularly exposed to road traffic noise over the level that the World Health Organisation (WHO) considers to pose a serious risk to health. Noise pollution has been linked to 50,000 fatal heart attacks every year in Europe.

Open letter to the Lithuanian Presidency of the EU calling on the deal on CO2 emissions from cars to be put to a vote

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In this open letter to the Lithuanian Presidency of the Council of the EU, Transport & Environment and Greenpeace call on the Presidency to fulfil its role as neutral and unbiased chair, follow the wish of the vast majority of member states and the two other EU institutions, and put the agreed deal to reduce CO2 emissions from new cars to a vote.

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