• EU could lose leadership position on fuel efficient cars

    According to Reuters (1), the EU is set to confirm a legally-binding target for average new car CO2 emissions of 95 g/km by 2020. Transport & Environment, the sustainable transport campaigners, have warned that the target will not be enough to ensure Europe holds on to its leadership position in fuel saving technologies.

    Greg Archer, Programme Manager at T&E said:

    “Tighter CO2 standards for cars will be welcomed by drivers across Europe who will save €500 per year at the pump on average if this proposal is adopted. But drivers have also been short-changed: tightening the 2020 target to 80g CO2/km would have saved them a further €150 a year.”

    “The biggest problem with this proposal is the absence of a vision for progress beyond 2020.  This is going to erode the leadership the European automotive industry has achieved.  Thanks to new rules put in place by the U.S administration, the typical American car by 2025 will include more advanced technologies for fuel efficiency than the average European vehicle. There is a real danger that Europe is going to lose its competitive edge in low carbon vehicles if suppliers don’t get the investment certainty needed to develop advanced technologies.”   

    T&E says the market for next generation electric and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles will also be stalled by the absence of challenging targets for 2020 and beyond.

    In recent years, carmakers have consistently claimed that regulatory targets for CO2 emissions and fuel efficiency would make cars ‘unaffordable’. T&E says those claims are unfounded.

    “Last time the EU set a CO2 standard for new vehicles, carmakers whined that cars would become unaffordable.  That didn’t happen, car prices came down in real terms and consumers have benefited considerably from improved fuel efficiency.  There is no doubt that legislation provides a massive boost to innovation, and costs fall over time.  The EU should be bolder this time around,” said Archer.

    Download a T&E briefing on the 95g CO2 target here: https://www.transportenvironment.org/publications/cars-and-co2