Transport is Europe's biggest climate problem accounting for 27% of its GHG emissions in 2017. This report summarises a series of studies by Transport & Environment. (T&E analysed pathways for decarbonisation in the road freight, aviation, shipping and car sectors.) It demonstrates that transport can and must be decarbonised by 2050 at the very latest, not only to limit global warming but also to ensure Europe's competitiveness, its energy sovereignty and the health and well-being of its 500 million citizens.
The EU should fill its post-Brexit budget gap with new revenues from taxing transport, which is Europe’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, former Italian prime minister Enrico Letta, ex-WTO head Pascal Lamy, former finance minister of Germany Hans Eichel and 14 other economists have told EU leaders. In advocating a green tax shift, they called for a higher minimum tax on road diesel, VAT on airline tickets for the first time and taxing aviation kerosene which is currently exempt. Sustainable transport group Transport & Environment welcomed the letter, citing its own analysis that such a green tax shift would generate additional revenues of more than €50 billion a year which would allow for the income tax burden to be reduced.
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 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.
Carmakers can exploit loopholes in the EU’s new CO2 emissions targets to push sales of fake plug-in hybrid cars over EVs with no tailpipe emissions, T&E has warned. The law credits manufacturers for selling EVs but leaves room for gaming. This could allow carmakers to supply half of all the ´zero and low-emission’ cars needed to comply with stricter CO2 limits with fake ‘electric’ cars.
Today’s announcement by the Volkswagen Group that it plans to sell 70 electric models and make 22 million electric vehicles in the next decade is a game changer for the automotive industry, Europe’s federation of green transport NGOs has said. While the plan is not perfect it is a clear indication of the future of carmaking and governments should now put in place green taxation and charging infrastructure to aid the transition, Transport & Environment (T&E) commented.
The new car CO2 emissions test is producing unreliable results making it unfit for setting vehicle taxes at the moment, new data analysed by Transport & Environment (T&E) shows. This supports the European Commission’s evidence last year that carmakers are manipulating the new WLTP test to make their emissions look worse until 2021 and thus make CO2 reduction targets in 2025 easier to comply with. Governments should hold back on basing taxes on the new test and instead prepare a more comprehensive overhaul of vehicle taxation that accelerates the uptake of electric cars, T&E said.
This paper has been prepared by T&E in response to the consultation from HM Treasury on the review into the impact of the Worldwide harmonised Light vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) on vehicle excise duty and company car tax.
Current systems of car taxation have driven a transport system dominated by privately owned, large engined cars contributing to pollution, climate change, congestion and lost urban space. T&E analysis, supported by Commission’s own modelling, shows that all new cars have to be zero emission – largely electric – from early 2030s to be in line with the Paris climate goals, and their numbers, as well as kilometres driven, have to reduce to cut energy demand and make cities clean and liveable. To respond to these challenges a wholesale reform of vehicle taxation systems is urgently needed.