Electrification and ambitious CO2 standards for Europe's cars are key to decarbonising transport – the sector that needs to do the heavy lifting to meet the Paris climate targets.
The European Parliament will vote next week on whether to strengthen the proposal for Europe’s key climate law, the so-called Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR) – or ‘Climate Action Regulation’, the name agreed by the environment committee. MEPs will be asked to back a more ambitious starting point than the European Commission’s proposal and to close some loopholes to ensure member states actually reduce their emissions.
New cars consume on average 42% more fuel on the road than advertised in sales brochures, according to T&E’s latest Mind the Gap report. Despite auto industry claims of their vehicles’ ever-improving fuel economy, the gap between real-world fuel consumption and official figures has grown from 28% in 2012 and 14% a decade ago.
Germany’s highest civil court has confirmed that city councils have the right to ban dirty diesel cars from city centres to bring air pollution down to legally required limits. In a landmark double-ruling on 27 February, the Federal Administrative Court (BVG) said cities are entitled to ban the most polluting engines, in fact they must do so if that is the most effective measure to reduce pollutants, particularly nitrogen dioxide (NO2).
There are growing calls for a green tax shift to the transport sector, which would help fill a gap in the EU’s budget after the UK leaves. A T&E analysis has found new measures such as a carbon tax on motor fuels, aviation kerosene duty, and ending the VAT exemption for flights within and from Europe would raise more than €50 billion annually. And last week, as EU leaders discussed the looming gap, 17 eminent economists rowed in behind the idea, calling it a ‘once in a decade opportunity’ to create a fossil-fuel contribution to the EU budget.
The number of electric vehicle chargers is not holding back EV sales but the limited availability of the vehicles is. That's according to a comprehensive analysis of member states’ plans for the deployment of EV charging infrastructure to support the EV fleet between now and 2020. More investment in public charging infrastructure will be needed after 2020 as EV sales increase, but it is not a problem for consumers yet.
Moving from fossil-fuel powered vehicles to ones driven by renewable energy will create 206,000 net additional jobs in Europe by 2030, a new study has found. The shift to zero-emission vehicles will drive an increase in gross domestic product (GDP) of 0.2% a year in the EU and slash the bloc’s oil imports by €49 billion in 2030, according to the analysis by Cambridge Econometrics for the European Climate Foundation.
Small electric vans now cost the same to own as diesel vans – but there simply aren’t enough of them available to bring about the improvements in air pollution and reduced CO2 emissions that the technology allows for. That is the conclusion of a study for T&E which highlights how the EU’s reluctance to adequately regulate the vans’ emissions and use is now slowing emissions reductions.
The continued use of high-emitting biofuels to power Europe’s cars and trucks is up for decision in the European Parliament next week. In deciding the Parliament’s position on reform of the Renewable Energy Directive, MEPs will be asked whether European drivers should be obliged to burn massive quantities of food crops in their fuel tanks until 2030.
Transport has taken over from power generation as the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the US – and the situation is likely to get worse as the Trump administration plans to weaken emissions standards. T&E says the policy will only damage US carmakers. Transport has been the single biggest emitter of greenhouse gases in Europe since 2016.