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.
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).
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.
Road transport is one of the few EU sectors where CO2 emissions continue to grow. To address the problem, the Commission plans to publish its proposals on car and van CO2 standards in November, followed by fuel efficiency standards for trucks in early 2018. Using its new EUTRM model, Transport & Environment has analysed the emission reductions of different ambition levels and their contribution to help achieve the 2030 non-ETS targets required from road transport. The key results are:
- Even the most ambitious standards analysed only deliver half the reductions required from road transport in 2030, leaving member states with a large CO2 gap to close with additional policies.
- Without intermediary targets in 2025 much CO2 reduction is delayed, halving the cumulative emissions cuts by 2030 and jeopardising achieving the ESR goals cost-effectively.
Ambitious CO2 standards of 45% reduction for cars and 40% for vans in 2030, with mandatory targets in 2025, are cost-effective and essential for member states to comply with the Effort Sharing Regulation and for Europe to achieve its 2030 climate goals.
Platform for Electro-Mobility reaction to European Parliament ITRE commitee vote on EPBDToday MEPs voted for electric vehicle charging points to be required in all new non-residential buildings. As they are more frequented than private buildings, large non-residential buildings ensure high visibility for and intensive use of EV charging points, the Platform for Electro-Mobility  said, welcoming the European Parliament industry committee's decision.
EU governments should answer MEPs’ call for a more robust climate law, green group Transport & Environment (T&E) has said despite the European Parliament’s vote today to weaken the environment committee's ambitious proposal for the Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR). The parliament backed a more ambitious starting point than the European Commission’s proposal, capped the so-called banking flexibility but kept the loophole on forestry credits so member states can avoid some emissions reductions.
Transport & Environment (T&E) welcomes European Commission’s proposal today on smart road tolls and its commitment to zero-emission mobility. The Commission also reaffirmed its commitment to set stricter CO2 standards for cars, vans and, for the first time, trucks. These are moves in the right direction, but the real test of the EU’s intentions will be the ambition of the CO2 standards and whether it proposes a zero-emission vehicle mandate, the sustainable transport group said.