• Findings undermine car makers’ 120g/km claims

    Research in the Commission is believed to have found evidence that forcing car makers to limit carbon dioxide emissions from new cars to 120 grams per kilometre could be justified on economic and social grounds.


    Speaking at a T&E seminar earlier this month, the Com-mission’s director of air and chemicals Jos Delbeke said: “’Preliminary work indicates that the costs are not as high as the manufacturers have claimed, and that benefits for society may outweigh costs.”

    This contrasts with claims from the car makers that reducing the average new car from a 140g/km limit to 120g/km would force prices to rise by €4000 per car.

    The industry currently has a voluntary commitment to reduce average emissions from new cars to 140g/km by 2008, but environmental groups have for the past couple of years said this target is unlikely to be met, and there are signs from within the car makers themselves that they may be about to recognise this.

    T&E director Jos Dings said: “What is interesting is that while we recognise the manufacturers have upfront investment costs, these are likely to be less than the lifetime fuel and emission savings that can be gained from a 120/g/km limit.”


    A new report aimed at investors and published by the World Resources Institute has also cast doubt on the EU car makers’ voluntary agreement.

    The report, “Are investors driving blindly” by the Swiss consultancy Sam, says two important aspects of the agreement are being kept from the public: information on what part each company is playing in reaching the 140g/km target, and data on CO2 performance of individual companies. It says the absence of this information means investors face “unfore-seen risk”.

    The reticence of the automotive industry over CO2 emissions contrasts with moves by some companies to bring forward plans for fitting particle filters.

    • Recent sales figures suggest the boom in sport utility vehicles (SUVs) may have peaked. Even in America, the market share of large and mid-sized SUVs is down to 11% from a peak of 14% in 2002.

    This news story is taken from the April 2005 edition of T&E Bulletin.