The role of shared mobility in shaping European transport is likely to be influenced by a Spanish case referred to the European Court of Justice. A judge in Barcelona has asked the court to rule on whether Uber, the smartphone application for hailing taxis, often unlicensed, should be regulated as a digital or transport service. Meanwhile, the European Commission has launched its own investigation into how to deal with Uber, which will run in parallel with the court case.
It is impossible to have missed the news on cheap oil and gas, and what it is doing to our economies. A Google search for ‘oil price drop’ shows you what Reuters, BBC, Bloomberg, Forbes, etc – the big boys – have to say on the subject. And shale plays a key role in both. And indeed, oil costs less than it did in 2008 and 2012. And indeed, this is having a big economic impact. It means that Europe in 2014 saved around 1% of GDP, more than €100 billion, in import bills. A free and welcome boost. But this column is not seeking to add to what Reuters has to say. It wants to offer two other perspectives.
While new cars sold in 2014 averaged CO2 emissions of 123g/km, according to the How Cleans are Europe's cars 2015? report, real-world emissions are much higher and reductions in CO2 are happening considerably slower than depicted. Now T&E is warning that the cheating will continue to undermine progress even after a new test, the Worldwide harmonized Light vehicles Test Procedures (WLTP), is introduced.
The current system for testing car CO2 emissions and fuel economy, the NEDC, is obsolete. Thankfully, a new test, the WLTP, is scheduled to replace the NEDC in 2017. To do this, the average CO2 emissions target for cars (95 g/km for 2020/1) needs to be revised in a way that maintains “equivalent stringency” between the tests.
Transport is not the most innovative of sectors so when the top people of Uber, Google, Nokia, Zipcar and BlaBlaCar got together at the International Transport Forum in Leipzig last week, there was an air of excitement. The picture they painted was of a radically different transport system, revolutionized by the internet, mobile phones and autonomous, electric driving. What this could mean for people was captured well by Philippe Crist from the OECD. He estimates the advent of the digital age could reduce the number of cars by an eye-popping 90% in urban areas.
The much-hyped Energy Union communication has finally been published. Rumour has it that it represents the European Commission’s five-year work plan and the direction of travel to 2030. What is the road ahead for transport, and what can be further improved to make sure the EU can seriously tackle emissions from one of the most challenging sectors?
Car manufacturers that sell the majority of gas-guzzlers in Europe manipulate fuel economy figures in tests much more than those makers that produce more fuel-efficient vehicles, a new report by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) reveals. The report adds new evidence to a series of recent studies that show the gap between official test results and the fuel consumption drivers experience on the road is rapidly increasing year-on-year.
This report provides new evidence and understanding on why there is a growing gap between the official fuel consumption and CO2 emissions of new passenger cars and vans, and that which is achieved by the same vehicles on the road. It demonstrates that the current (NEDC) test is outdated and unrepresentative of real-world driving and current vehicles, and that lax testing procedures are allowing car-makers to manipulate the official tests to produce unrealistically low results.