In 2009, the EU set legally-binding targets for new cars to emit 130 grammes of CO2 per km by 2015 and 95g in 2020. Later in 2014, due to pressure from Germany in particular, the 95g target was postponed to 2021. These targets are based on the old test cycle (the New European Driving Cycle, or NEDC) which was developed more than 40 years ago and is now inadequate and outdated. This, together with targeted cycle beating, has led to serious test manipulation and resulted in the average gap between real-world and declared fuel efficiency of 42% in 2016. This means cars and vans emit, on average, 42% more emissions and use 42% more fuel in reality than the official certificates show. In consequence, by 2021 performance on the road is likely to average 139g/km – far higher than the 95g/km target. Find out more about the growing real-world fuel gap in T&E’s campaign ‘Get Real - Demand Fuel Figures you can trust’.
The new test cycle, the World Light Duty Test Procedure (WLTP), entered into force in September 2017, but the transitional arrangements that allow some of the old flexibilities will apply until the new set of post-2020 CO2 standards is set. Separately, the additional arrangements to promote the introduction of very low and zero-emission vehicles, the so-called super-credits, have so far failed to accelerate the deployment of plug-in cars in Europe, which is lagging behind markets such as China and California.
Following the 2015 Paris climate agreement and the EU 2030 Climate and Energy policy, the EU has acknowledged that more ambitious emission reductions are required from the transport sector by 2030 for Europe to reach its climate goals. Cars like all other major sectors need to reduce their emissions to nearly zero by 2050 to be in line with the 2C scenario; the last internal combustion engine has thus to be sold around 2035.
In this light, car and van CO2 standards are the cornerstone of this action, and post-2020 standards will be instrumental in order to achieve the necessary emission reduction across the EU single market. The European Commission presented its proposal for the post-2020 CO2 standards in November 2017, proposing a 15% reduction in 2025 and 30% reduction in 2030 based on the 2021 levels. The change from absolute g/km targets in a percentage reduction has been proposed to accommodate the switch from the old NEDC to the new WLTP test cycle, as the absolute g/km vehicle values will not be known until the reporting done in 2021. The proposals are currently with the European Parliament and the Council of ministers for amendments and the new law is expected to be agreed in early 2019.
|EU total road transport emissions (2016)||20% (one-fifth) of EU’s overall greenhouse gas emissions|
|Cars & Vans|
|Share of emissions from cars & vans (2016)||Approx. 14% of EU’s overall greenhouse gas emissions, or 70% of EU road transport emissions|
|EU policies to decarbonise cars||
CO2 limits for new cars:
Note: the average CO2 emissions from the new car fleet in 2017 were 118.5 gCO2/km
|CO2 limits translated into fuel consumption|
Cost saving of a 95 g CO2/km car for the average driver
|Around €250 a year, based on today’s pump prices and compared to 2015 CO2 target.|
|European oil imports||In 2015 the EU imported oil equivalent to €215 billion – two-thirds of it for transport.|
|Car production in Europe (2017)||17m cars|
|Car registration in Europe (2017)||15.1m cars|
|Car exports (2017)||5.4m cars|