EU gives boost to affordable cleaner cars, but deal is not good enough for the planet

The European Parliament, Commission and Council just agreed to cut carbon emissions from new cars and vans by 15% in 2025 and 37.5% in 2030, compared to 2021 levels. The European federation of transport NGOs, Transport & Environment (T&E), welcomes the agreement. However, T&E warns that the deal is well below what’s needed to achieve the EU’s 2030 climate targets or indeed meet the goals of the Paris climate agreement, which requires the last car with an engine to be sold by the early 2030s.

Although less than suggested by the Parliament, the 37.5% cut by 2030 is an improvement on the very weak Commission proposal of just 30%. For consumers the new law means there will be much greater choice in affordable, fuel-efficient and electric models. It was also agreed that the Commission will develop a system using information from fuel consumption meters to ensure emission reductions are delivered on the road but this will not come into force until 2030.

Greg Archer, clean vehicles director at T&E, said: "Europe is shifting up a gear in the race to produce zero-emission cars. The new law means by 2030 around a third of new cars will be electric or hydrogen-powered. That's progress but it’s not fast enough to hit our climate goals.”

The Parliament's excellent proposal to penalise carmakers for failing to supply sufficient zero and low-emission vehicles (malus) was unfortunately blocked by Council and the Commission. The Council’s worst proposals such as giving very generous credits to plug-in-hybrids were limited during negotiation. Whilst a cap was added to the double counting of plug-in cars sold in Central and Eastern Europe at 5% of new car sales in those countries, there remains a risk of gaming by carmakers registering zero and low-emission vehicles in one country and selling them on in another. Special arrangements for niche vehicle manufacturers were retained until 2028.

T&E said this could have been a much better deal if governments and the Commission had not caved in to carmakers’ lobbying.

Greg Archer concluded: “This regulation is a good deal for citizens: reducing fuel costs for drivers, creating over 200,000 jobs and reducing our dependence on imported oil. However, carmakers’ successful scuppering of more ambitious targets means governments will now need to do a lot more at national level to bring down transport emissions.”

Transport is Europe’s biggest climate problem. Cars and vans represent almost two-thirds of all transport emissions.


Contact the press team

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

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