The biggest failure of the current car CO2 has been the failure to deliver emissions reductions on the road. Whilst new car CO2 emissions measured using the obsolete laboratory test (NEDC) have fallen by 31% since 2000, on the road the reduction is just, 11%. The gap between test and real-world performance has leapt from 9 to 42% weakening the regulation, increasing CO2 emissions and raising fuel bills for drivers. The underlying issue was basing the regulation on laboratory tests. Whilst the new WLTP addresses some loopholes, its introduction also creates new flexibilities that the car industry are planning to exploit to undermine both the current regulation to 2020/1 and proposed future regulations for 2025/30.
In response to congestion and high local pollution cities are increasingly using vehicle access restrictions to limit the number of cars on their roads and ensure those which grossly pollute are not allowed in. Following the dieselgate emissions scandal (that exposed the failure of modern diesel vehicles to adequately control toxic fumes when operated on the road), there is a new focus on deploying Low Emission Zones and Diesel Bans. Today there are around 40 million grossly polluting diesel cars and vans on the EU’s roads but national vehicle approval authorities remain reluctant to mandate manufacturers to implement fixes.
Light commercial vehicles, or vans, are a neglected area of EU road transport policy as they are often exempt from safety and environmental policy such as driving regulations or tolls, compared to their direct competitors, trucks. This enhances their attractiveness and in part explains why their use and emissions are growing. CO2 standards for van makers are much weaker than for cars, as a result van makers do not deploy the same efficient and innovative technologies to vans to lower their emissions.
This is T&E's report on why Europe’s obsession with diesel cars is bad for its economy, its drivers and the environment.
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.
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).
This report, released on the first anniversary of the Dieselgate scandal, exposes the shocking number of dirty diesel cars on the EU’s roads and the feeble regulation of cars by national authorities that have focused on protecting their own commercial interests or those of domestic carmakers. In the US, following the disclosure that VW had cheated emissions tests, justice has been swiftly and effectively delivered. This is in stark contrast to Europe where VW claims it has not acted illegally, no penalties have been levied and no compensation has been provided to customers.
Transport is Europe’s biggest source of CO2 emissions. Road transport represents three-quarters of transport emissions; and cars and vans three-quarters of these. It is therefore surprising that rather than seeking to aggressively drive down emissions from Europe’s cars and vans, Climate Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete and his department are deliberately and repeatedly misleading the co-decision makers in the Parliament and Council about the impact of its proposals for post-2020 CO2 targets for new cars and vans. The defensive moves of the Commissioner and his department have been to discredit electric cars and warn of job losses. But his claims are not supported by the evidence including the analysis of the Commission’s own impact assessment – this paper matches the claims to the evidence.
Fuelling Spain’s Future: How to boost the economy while leaving carbon behind shows that improving the efficiency of cars and increasing the number of zero emissions vehicles on the road will lead to a larger economy.
Spain has to reduce its non-ETS greenhouse gas emissions by 26% in 2030, and transport is the highest emitter within these non-ETS sectors. As a result, and also to comply with the EU's long-term decarbonisation goals and the Paris agreement, Spain must take urgent and robust action to reduce the emissions in transport. In this report for the European Climate Initiative (EUKI), T&E analyses and proposes a series of key actions that Spain should undertake to decarbonise transport.