Briefing: German manufacturers calling for weaker car fuel efficiency targets

In 2009, the EU set legally-binding targets for new cars to emit, on average, 130 grammes of CO2 per km by 2015 and 95g in 2020. Regulation (EC) No 443/2009 also requires the Commission to carry out a review of “…the modalities for reaching, by the year 2020, a long-term target of 95 g CO2/km in a cost-effective manner…” The outcomes of this review are expected in July and will include a formal proposal for average car CO2 emissions in 2020.

The Regulation includes a mechanism to share the burden of emissions reductions between vehicle manufacturers. Manufacturers of predominantly larger (heavier) vehicles are allowed to produce cars with higher average CO2 emissions per car than manufacturers of smaller (lighter) vehicles. The additional permitted allowance is currently the subject of intense lobbying by German producers of larger vehicles: Daimler, BMW and VW. This paper considers the issue and the implications of allowing more generous allowances for larger vehicles.