Car makers’ performance makes case for van limits

The latest figures on how car makers are reducing carbon dioxide emissions from new cars highlight rapidly differing performances among the main manufacturers. But the pattern of those differences shows that the forthcoming obligatory CO2 limits are leading to changes in the automotive industry, which has led T&E to intensify its call for the EU to introduce CO2 limits for light commercial vehicles.

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[mailchimp_signup][/mailchimp_signup]The best reducers based on sales in Europe were BMW and Mazda. The German luxury car maker recorded the biggest improvement for the second year running, cutting its average CO2 emissions from new models by 10%. The Japanese maker Mazda cut its emissions by 8.2%, but it was one of the worst offenders before so had plenty of room for improvement.

Nine of the 14 biggest car makers reduced their emissions by 4% or less. Most noticeable was the dramatic slowing of reduction efforts at Fiat and Peugeot-Citroën, the two companies who came top when T&E first published figures for each maker in 2006, and who are close to achieving the limit of 130 g/km set out in the EU’s first legislation that imposes obligatory limits.

T&E director Jos Dings said, ‘Despite having been watered down to unnecessary levels, the new EU law is already having an impact. If the overall drop in average CO2 emissions was purely related to the financial crisis, fuel prices or changing consumer behaviour, we would see every company reducing much more equally.

‘In fact what is happening is that car makers are seeing how far they have to cut, and changing their fleets accordingly. If legally binding targets work for cars, they will work for vans where progress so far has been even worse. Fuel-efficient vans will be good for the environment and save billions in fuel costs for the many businesses that depend on them.’

Vans now represent 13% of total ‘light vehicle’ (car and van) sales in the EU, but the share is increasing rapidly.

Until three years ago, no figures were available maker-by-maker, and the industry wanted to be treated as a single entity. But then T&E broke the secrecy by listing emissions reductions per manufacturer, which effectively stopped the worst emitters hiding behind the achievements of the best reducers.

T&E’s latest car company CO2 report, which is available on the T&E website, also analyses some of the underlying reasons behind average emissions reductions. These include Ford’s decision to sell off its gas-guzzling Jaguar and Land Rover brands (a move that accounted for half Ford’s CO2 reductions) and how some makers are failing to maximise the credit for emissions reductions by making the relevant technology optional rather than standard.