[mailchimp_signup][/mailchimp_signup]An opinion poll conducted in five EU countries shows overwhelming support
among citizens for measures to force carmakers to reduce the fuel
consumption of the cars they produce by 25 per cent without delay. The
results come ahead of decisive votes in the European Parliament on a
proposed new legally-binding target for new car CO2 emissions.
The poll – carried out by TNS Opinion – probed close to 5000 people in
France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK. An overwhelming majority (87 per
cent) stated that measures to reduce the fuel consumption of new cars by a
quarter – equivalent to the 120g CO2/km target being discussed by MEPs –
should be introduced urgently.
Almost half (46 per cent) of respondents think that requiring manufacturers
to reduce the fuel consumption of vehicles is the best way to reduce harmful
emissions from cars, ahead of tax incentives (27 per cent) and promoting
fuel-efficient cars through better information (13 per cent).
Also, around two thirds (64 per cent) of citizens support the statement that
such measures will be good for their national economy because people will
buy less fuel and have more money to spend on other things. Respondents
listed fuel consumption (64 per cent) as the most important factor, apart
from price, when choosing a new car. Safety was second (37 per cent) and
environmentally clean third (26 per cent).
The findings seem to show that citizens don’t buy carmakers’ claims that the
proposed legislation would damage their industry.
German respondents felt the most strongly that requiring manufacturers to
reduce fuel consumption was the best way to improve efficiency, despite the
German car industry’s attempts to weaken the planned legislation.
“Citizens are sending a loud and clear message to politicians and carmakers
to shift fuel efficiency up a gear,” says Jeroen Verhoeven, car efficiency
campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe. “Car fuel efficiency is a
simple, effective and sustainable way to reduce Europe’s climate changing
emissions. MEPs should listen to their constituents and vote for a
regulation which is guaranteed to deliver a 25 per cent reduction in fuel
consumption by 2012.”
The lack of progress by the car industry on fuel efficiency is highlighted
in a new advertising campaign launched today by Friends of the Earth Europe
and Transport and Environment (T&E).  The two environmental groups are
calling on MEPs to vote for fuel efficiency targets (120g CO2/km by 2012 and
80g CO2/km by 2020).
The adverts show the 1948 and 2008 models of the Volkswagen Beetle which,
despite sixty years of advances in automobile design, share the same level
of fuel efficiency. The post-war Beetle used 7.5 litres per 100 km driven
(3). The 2008 Beetle ‘Luna’ 1.6 Petrol uses the same .
Kerstin Meyer of T&E states: “For the last six decades, carmakers have been
innovative in everything but fuel efficiency. And they have failed to notice
that times have changed. We need fuel efficient cars that minimise impacts
on the environment.”
“If new cars were twice as efficient as they are today, we’d be on the right
track. It’s up to MEPs to set the targets, and to Europe’s top automotive
talent to produce the goods,” she adds.
A website – www.forlesspollutingcars.com – has been launched where people
can ask MEPs to support car fuel efficiency and read more about the EU’s
The European Environment Agency estimates that cars are responsible for 14 per cent of CO2 emissions .
 The FOEE / T&E campaign will run in the European Voice newspaper and on
Euractiv.Com. The ads can be viewed online at:
 1948 Volkswagen Beetle (Type 11), 7.5 litres / 100km “Average running”,
source: Volkswagen Type 11 “Instruction Book”, pg 5, 1948;
 2008 Volkswagen New Beetle Luna 1.6 Petrol, 7.5 litres / 100km (EU
combined), source: www.volkswagen.de
Friends of the Earth Europe’s position paper on setting CO2 emission
performance standards for new passenger cars can be found at:
More information about the Cars Directive can be found at: