• New French labelling scheme prompts call for harmonised approach

    France last month became the latest European country to introduce a new scheme to indicate a car’s emissions of carbon dioxide.

    The existing EU directive on car labelling is proving problematical. T&E director Jos Dings said: “The directive allows member states so much room for national implementation that there are effectively 25 different labelling systems in Europe. In addition, enforcement by member states is generally very weak.”

    France’s new system is a restructuring of an old scheme. A series of seven colour-coded labels has been introduced to indicate CO2 emissions per kilometre of all new cars. The aim is to inform consumers in the hope of influencing their buying decisions, and also to encourage car makers to reduce CO2 emissions for fear of looking bad in the colour coding.

    The French environment minister Nelly Olin said: “We have seen in recent years the effect of eco-labelling on refrigerator and washing machine sales; manufacturers have changed the products on offer and now, in general, only put machines on the market classed A or B.”


    In a related development, the European Commission has launched an eight-week public consultation on how the EU should further reduce car CO2 emissions and improve fuel efficiency.

    This news story is taken from the June 2006 edition of T&E Bulletin.