Failure to set stricter CO2 standard will cost van owners money

A new study has increased the pressure on MEPs and ministers to set a stricter carbon dioxide emissions target for vans than it is currently proposing. The study says that if the vans standard for 2020 were equivalent to the proposed standard for cars, it would save owners of new vans €825 a year, and the technology will also be much cheaper than previously thought.

The Commission originally proposed that the average new van should emit no more than 135 grams of CO2 per kilometre in 2020. Ministers and the European Parliament subsequently agreed a figure of 147g/km in 2011, which was re-confirmed in the Commission’s legislative proposals published last July. Given that emissions from vans were 181g in 2010 – just above the current target for 2017 of 175g – a 147g target for 2020 would require a reduction of only 19% in a decade. The Commission’s parallel proposal for cars has put forward a limit of 95g/km for 2020, and the target of equivalent stringency for vans would be 118g.

T&E therefore commissioned a new study from the Dutch consultancy TNO. The study looks at the 118g limit, and concludes that if this were the target set by the EU, it would save the average van driver €825 a year compared with now, and €385 a year more than if the limit is 147g. The technology to meet a 118g standard would cost slightly more but, as the average van owner would pay off such an increase in costs within three years, the total cost of ownership would fall.

T&E clean cars specialist Greg Archer says: ‘More fuel-efficient vans are a win-win for the environment and the economy, but if the Commission’s proposal to retain the 147g/km target is confirmed, it will be an opportunity missed. There is no reason that standards for vans should be softer than those for cars, which means we must have a van target of no more than 118g. If we don’t, EU businesses will be denied the fuel-efficient vans they need, and the economic and environmental benefits of a tighter standard will be lost. Vans could become a technology graveyard with solutions to improve fuel efficiency, which have already been developed for cars, left on the shelf.’

Vans are one of the fastest growing sources of transport greenhouse gas emissions, increasing by 26% between 1995 and 2010. Vans’ emissions now account for 8% of total road transport emissions, with further growth anticipated.

The report and a T&E position paper on the need for stricter CO2 standards for vans can be found here.