Car CO2 progress slows while gap with reality widens, warns T&E

Carbon emissions of the average new car sold in Europe fell 2.6% in 2014 to 123.4g/km, according to official figures published today by the European Environmental Agency (EEA). Sustainable transport group Transport & Environment (T&E) warned that most of the improvement was being delivered through cheating in flawed tests with no benefits for drivers in better fuel economy on the road.

Recent research shows that average fuel-efficiency figures achieved by drivers on the road are up to 31% poorer than official figures claimed by carmakers, up from 8% in 2004. This means that while on average new cars in 2014 achieved 5 litres per 100km in tests, on the road the car consumes closer to 6.5 – costing a typical motorist around an extra €350 in fuel a year [1].

Greg Archer, clean vehicles manager at T&E, said: “These figures need to be treated with extreme caution. Most of the measured improvement is being delivered through manipulating tests, not delivering real-world improvements. We need the new test to be introduced without further delay.”

The European Commission plans to introduce a new test cycle in 2017 – the World Light Duty Test Procedure (WLTP) – but carmakers want to delay its introduction until after 2021 so they can continue to use the current obsolete system.

The data shows carmakers are well ahead of meeting their 2015 targets and most are on track to meet 2020 goals. Greg Archer added: “The Commission needs to bring forward a new car CO2 target for 2025 of 70g/km to continue driving innovation and the shift to electrified transport.”

The EU’s first obligatory rules on carbon emissions require car manufacturers to limit their average car to a maximum of 130 grams of CO2 per kilometre by 2015, and 95g by 2021. Manipulation of tests has therefore contributed to average emissions achieving the target 2 years early. The intention is to switch to the new WLTP cycle using a conversion factor to adjust the 2021 target so that it requires no additional effort from car manufacturers, but still reflects the stringency of the original target.

Note to editors:

[1] Assumes a new car annual mileage of 20,000km; fuel cost of €1.20/l; real world emissions 31% above test results.

Contact the press team

Nico Muzi
Communications Director
+32 (0)484 27 87 91 
nico.muzi@transportenvironment.org

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