• Two Beetles; sixty years apart; same fuel efficiency

    The 1948 and 2008 Volkswagen Beetles, separated by sixty years of advances in automobile design, but sharing the same level of fuel efficiency. This startling fact is highlighted in a new advertising campaign launched today by Friends of the Earth Europe (FoEE) and Transport and Environment (T&E).

    The two environmental organizations are asking Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to ‘shift fuel efficiency up a gear’ by voting in favour of legally binding and long term targets for new car CO2 emissions. CO2 emissions and fuel efficiency are directly linked.

    The Parliament’s environment committee is set to vote on a proposed new legally-binding target for new car CO2 emissions on September 8/9.

    Kerstin Meyer of T&E said, “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 minimize 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 Europe’s top automotive talent to produce the goods.”

    The post-war Beetle used 7.5 litres per 100 km driven (1). The 2008 Beetle ‘Luna’ 1.6 Petrol uses the same (2).

    Overall progress in improving the fuel efficiency of new cars has been slow. A report published on Tuesday 26 August by T&E showed that carmakers improved last year by just 1.7%. That rate of progress needs to be dramatically improved if Europe’s climate targets are to be met.

    The European Environment Agency estimates that cars are responsible for 14% of CO2 emissions.

    (1) 1948 Volkswagen Beetle (Type 11), 7.5 litres / 100km “Average running”, source: Volkswagen Type 11 “Instruction Book”, pg 5, 1948

    (2) 2008 Volkswagen New Beetle Luna 1.6 Petrol, 7.5 litres / 100km (EU combined), source: www.volkswagen.de