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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

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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

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.

Many viable routes for EU to reach a workable fuel tax

It now seems that the revision of the Energy Tax Directive (ETD) is dead. Given how negotiations have been dragging on for three and a half years while only eating away at everything the Commission proposal sought to achieve, it is probably good to call it a day and start afresh.

Remarks: European road toll systems for private vehicles

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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.

Mercedes ranks No 1 in Europe’s list of fuel economy cheaters – report

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.

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.

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