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.
· MEPs also back tightening cap on aviation emissions.Support from ports and cargo owners for last week’s vote by MEPs to include shipping emissions in the EU emissions trading system (ETS) has been sharply criticised by shipowners. The European Community Shipowners' Associations (ECSA) said it ‘deplores’ the shipping industry’s backing for Europe regulating ship CO2 as a ‘first move’ to kick start action at global level. Shipping in Europe has CO2 emissions equal those of the Netherlands.
Advertised and on-road fuel consumption figures continue to drift apart: over the last 10 years, the gap has tripled to more than 40%. Demanding fuel figures you can trust, Germany’s Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) and Transport & Environment (T&E) have launched their pan-European campaign with the online tool get-real.org. The website highlights the carmakers’ tricks to manipulate fuel consumption tests as well as costs and the environmental impact of cars guzzling ever more fuel.
Eight governments are demanding new vehicle safety standards in order to diminish road deaths significantly. In a letter to EU internal market commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska, the governments, including Germany, France and Austria, call on the Commission to mandate safety measures such as direct vision to eradicate blind spots in the upcoming revision of the General Safety Regulation (GSR). Such measures would not only drastically improve truck safety but also boost the global competitiveness of European manufacturers, according to the alliance.
MEPs from the internal market committee (IMCO) became the latest group to back reform of the flawed and obsolete type approval system for cars which is at the heart of the Dieselgate scandal. The vote came as details emerged of special treatment for Fiat vehicles in tests conducted by Italy’s official investigation into Dieselgate.
Food-based biofuels can still be counted towards the EU’s renewable energy target, the European Commission has proposed – in a stunning U-turn on its commitment to phase-out first-generation biofuels that are worse for the climate than fossil fuels. Member states will be able to use a maximum 3.8% share of food-based biofuels in transport towards the Renewable Energy Directive’s target for 2030, barely reduced from the current 4.9% market share at EU level.
Proposals to make lorries safer for vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians have been announced by the European Commission. T&E has welcomed the basis for the new legislation, but says the Commission’s 2028 deadline for improved direct vision for trucks is too long and must be shortened.
New real-world emissions tests for modern petrol engines have been backed by EU governments. However, the tests will allow a conformity factor of 50%, meaning new petrol cars will be allowed to exceed current limits on particulate emissions by half – to take account of uncertainties in the test procedure. Governments agreed to stick with the September 2018 proposed date for all new cars to comply with the rules.
Efforts to expose Europe’s rail companies to more competition have moved a step forward, with the EU’s Fourth Rail Package being approved by MEPs. The measure was controversial in some respects, but T&E has given the news a cautious welcome.