This is T&E's report on why Europe’s obsession with diesel cars is bad for its economy, its drivers and the environment.
Two years after the Dieselgate scandal exposed the dirty nature of diesel cars, a new study (LINK TO STUDY) by Transport & Environment (T&E) shows that diesel cars not only pollute the air but also emit more climate-change emissions (CO2) than petrol cars. A lifecycle analysis of vehicle emissions proves that diesel cars over its lifetime emit 3.65 tonnes of CO2 more than a petrol equivalent. Diesel’s higher climate impact is due to a more energy-intensive refining of the diesel fuel; more materials required in the production of heavier and more complex engines; higher emissions from the biodiesel blended in the diesel fuel; and longer mileage because fuel is cheaper - see infographics below.
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 EU is negotiating trade deals with Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay), Indonesia, and soon Malaysia, These trade deals represent a risk for the EU’s sustainable transport plans. All mentioned countries are producers and exporters of crop-based biofuels, especially from palm and soybean oil that have higher overall emissions than fossil diesel. All ongoing negotiations include chapters on energy and raw materials.
The average car sits unused for more than 90% of the time, carries on average just one and a half people and costs, on average, €6,500 a year to own and run. Each car occupies 150m2 of urban land and still this is not the full bill – congestion costs the EU economy €100 billion annually. The convenience that made the car a 20th century icon has been eroded by its popularity.
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.
In November 2016 the Commission presented its new proposal for a Renewable Energy Directive in the 2021-2030 period. The main elements of the proposal on transport are to reduce the cap on food and feed-based biofuels to 3.8% in 2030 and to establish a mandate on fuel suppliers, requiring them to blend 6.8% of advanced fuels by 2030 (T&E’s position on biofuels in the RED can be found here).
The Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR) defines the carbon budget for EU member states for the non-traded sectors (surface transport, buildings, agriculture, small industry and waste) until 2030. If the ESR’s headline goal of -30% compared to 2005 is undermined through loopholes, the ESR will not lead to real-world emission reductions in those sectors. This FAQ is aimed at bringing clarity to one element being discussed during the negotiations: the ESR Safety/Early Action Reserve.
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.
Average gap between real-world fuel consumption and lab results for Mercedes cars is a whopping 54%, with the Mercedes A and E class reaching an inexplicable 56%. Industry wide, the gap becomes a 42% abyss, up from 28% only three years ago. Deceptive fuel consumption figures costs the typical driver in Europe around €549 a year in additional fuel bills compared to the official claims.