The drive for less fuel

January 27, 2000

To date EU efforts to stem the growth in the emissions of CO2 from transport have only targeted one element of one part of total transport CO2 emissions – new car fuel efficiency.

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The automotive industry will not meet its commitments to the European Union to produce cars in 2008-09 that on average emit no more than 140 g carbon dioxide (CO2) per km without large changes in its production and marketing strategies.

A shift to more efficient powertrains – such as common rail diesel engines, direct injection petrol engines, electric hybrids and fuel cells – will at best account for half of the reduction needed.

Improved fuel efficiency of conventional petrol engines and reduced mass, air resistance, friction and rolling resistance of all cars (regardless of powertrain) could make up the difference provided that the current trend towards heavier and more powerful cars, including “Sport Utility Vehicles” (SUVs) and vans, is discontinued.

The experience gained in Sweden and the UK suggests that mandatory use of CO2 labelson cars displayed for sale and information on fuel con- sumption in marketing could not beexpected to make much difference.