Press Release

Car industry generally on track to hit CO2 targets, EEA figures show

January 18, 2018

Car CO2 emissions – as measured in the laboratory – continued to decline in 2016 despite a fall in the share of diesel car sales, according to official figures released today by the European Environment Agency. Average car CO2 emissions declined by 1.4 grammes of CO2 per km to 118.1g/km. Sustainable transport group Transport & Environment (T&E) said most carmakers remain on track to achieve 2020/2021 targets but will need to accelerate emissions reductions – including by selling an increasing share of electric cars – in order to do so.

The share of diesel cars declined to below half (49.5%) and emitted, on average, 116.8g CO2/km, 4.9g CO2/km less than the average petrol vehicle. In 2000 the emission difference between diesel and petrol vehicles was much larger (17.1g CO2/km) reflecting the significant improvements in petrol engine efficiency. Diesel cars are, on average, 300kg heavier and also more powerful – reducing their benefit over gasoline.

Greg Archer, clean vehicles director at T&E, said: “Most carmakers are on track to achieve their goals although some will need to accelerate progress. By selling around 3-5% plug-in hybrid and electric cars by 2020, most manufacturers will earn sufficient super-credits to meet their targets. The decline in diesel is not having a dramatic effect on the average emissions, although the continuing growth in SUV sales is offsetting emissions reductions.”

Most companies need to continue to reduce emissions by 2-4% per annum to hit their targets and will be able to take advantage of super-credits from selling low and zero-emissions vehicles from 2020 that double count the lowest carbon models (electric and plug-in hybrid cars). However, Fiat is at significant risk of missing its goals and incurring substantial fines in excess of €1 billion. Fiat’s emissions have only improved at 1% per annum over the period 2009-2016 and must accelerate to 5% per annum in the next few years.

Daimler recently warned that it may miss its target, but T&E said the official data does not support this claim. Daimler needs to reduce emissions by about 4% per annum from 2017 compared to a reduction since 2009 of about 3.5% per annum.

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