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European Parliament condemns European citizens to noisier cities

The lives of millions of Europeans will be blighted by an increase in road traffic noise for years to come as the European Parliament today voted to weaken current noise limits for sports cars and trucks. Sustainable transport group Transport & Environment (T&E) and the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) express their disappointment in today's parliamentary vote, and resume calls on Member States to strengthen limits to lead to quieter and, hence, healthier cities in Europe.

Noise emission of Land Rover off-road vehicles

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Ahead of the noise vote on February 6, UK MEPs are being heavily lobbied to vote against noise standards by Land Rover, complaining that they can't comply with proposed limit values. Dutch consultancy TNO researched data in the official vehicle noise database and discovered that not only will Land Rover be able to comply, but most of their models already do!If Land Rover need some extra help achieving tighter noise standards, they could easily cut some dB by replacing their extremely noisy tyres (75dB) with equivalent quieter ones (72dB), which would also save fuel (see attached image - courtesy of http://www.kwik-fit.com/tyre-search.asp).

The case for 2025 targets for CO2 emissions from cars and vans - Report

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The EU has set a legally-binding target for new cars to emit no more than 95 grammes of CO2 per kilometre (g/km) by 2020. The target for vans is 147g/km. In July 2012, the European Commission announced its proposals on how these targets should be met. These proposals are currently being considered by the European Parliament and Council. The Commission did not propose further standards for 2025.This briefing outlines the arguments for setting strong 2025 targets and explains why industry arguments for delaying these targets are unfounded and would set back progress. It is based on new research by consultancy Ricardo-AEA (also downloadable in this page) as well as other evidence.

The right utility parameter – mass or footprint (or both)?

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In 2009, the EU set legally-binding targets for new cars to emit 130 grams of CO2 per kilometer (g/km) by 2015 and 95g/km in 2020.  In July, the Commission announced the outcome of its review of the modalities (ways) of achieving the 2020 target. The regulation takes account of the “utility” or purpose of the cars produced by different manufacturers whose targets therefore vary. In 2009, the EU agreed to account for the utility of the vehicles and set targets for individual manufacturers by comparing the average weight (mass) of the cars they produce. This was largely because data was not available on the average size (footprint) of registered cars until 2011. The Commission’s new proposal is to continue to use mass as a measure of utility until 2020 in order to minimize changes to the regulation. 

A win/win/win situation – more fuel-efficient cars are quieter cars

New research commissioned by T&E has confirmed that measures aimed at improving fuel efficiency also reduce vehicle noise. The report was published just days before the environment committee of the European Parliament voted to tighten existing noise standards for vehicles, narrowly defeating an alternative proposal that would have allowed much louder cars, buses and lorries.

At least a third of official car CO2 reductions are not real

A new report for the Commission suggests about a third of reported carbon dioxide emissions reductions from new cars since 2002 have not happened. T&E says this results in drivers being ‘cheated’ out of the benefits of lower fuel costs, as well as higher emissions of greenhouse gases.

Electric cars that don’t need charging

A Japanese academic has developed an innovative way of making electric cars more attractive – having them charge their battery as they drive along the road. Based on the assumption that what is holding back electric cars is the need to carry an expensive and heavy battery that takes a long time to charge and then offers either a short distance or a low speed, Takashi Ohira at the Toyohashi University of Technology has built a 0.3%-scale electric car that picks up electricity from electrodes buried beneath the road surface as it drives along.

No need to provide CO2 information?

T&E’s Belgian member Inter-Environnement Wallonie (IEW) has warned that the EU law requiring car manufacturers to give information on CO2 emissions from new cars has no teeth. IEW has given up a four-year fight, during which it complained to the Commission on several occasions that car makers are blatantly ignoring directive 1999/94, which makes it obligatory to give fuel economy and emissions information where new cars are sold. 

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