• Vans to become more fuel efficient, but not till after 2020

    Transport & Environment (T&E) has expressed disappointment that an EU agreement has failed to adopt a more stringent 2020 target for van fuel economy and CO2 emissions. The deal does, however, recognise that the EU needs stricter fuel economy and CO2 emissions standards for vans in 2025, which, in the longer-term, will deliver significant emissions reductions and fuel savings.

    The deal between the European Commission, European Parliament and Irish Presidency of the European Council adopted the proposed 147g CO2/km vans target for 2020, which has been widely regarded as being much weaker than the equivalent target for cars. Since vans emissions averaged 180.3g/km in 2012, vans manufacturers will have to make modest fuel efficiency gains at the rate of 4g/km per year to achieve the 2020 limit

    Reacting to the outcome, William Todts of T&E said: “It is disappointing that decision-makers have agreed on a vans target that is business as usual until 2020, allowing van-makers to achieve the limit at a snail’s pace. Van owners, who have explicitly asked Europe to help them save fuel and emissions, will now miss out on important fuel-efficiency gains in these tough economic times. It seems that the interests of some van-makers trump the interests of millions of responsible van owners and businesses.”

    In a supporting declaration from the European Commission, the need to continue to reduce vans emissions beyond 2020 was recognised, together with the Parliament’s proposed range of 105 – 120g/km for the average new van sold in 2025. This could deliver significant emissions reductions and fuel savings in the longer term. The deal struck will also update procedures for measuring van fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions to be consistent with similar legislation recently approved for cars. The update on the test procedures will help reduce the wide gap between the official fuel economy figures and those achieved by vans on the road.

    “It’s encouraging that the EU recognises the need to significantly improve van fuel efficiency in 2025 and update the emissions test to close the gap between official and real-world fuel economy figures. We need long-term targets with accurate test to stimulate innovation and are looking forward to policy-makers coming up with an ambitious 2025 proposal by 2015,” William Todts concluded.

    The final deal also scrapped speed limiters for vans, a measure proposed by the European Parliament that has strong public support. The failure to cap van speed with speed limiters, which would reduce average van fuel consumption and emissions by at least 6%, means that vans are the only commercial vehicle on the road today not to have such a measure.