Average emissions for new cars in 2020 to be 95g/km CO2


The European Commission has announced proposals to implement targets to cut average emissions from new cars from their current level to 95g/km CO2 in 2020.

The car industry is currently working towards a mandatory target of 130g/km CO2 which is being phased in from this year to 2015. Emissions from vans will be reduced to 147g CO2/km in 2020 from 181.4g in 2010 and a mandatory target of 175g in 2017.

Cars and vans together account for around 15% of EU CO2 emissions , including emissions from fuel supply.

The mandatory targets for 2020 were already envisaged in existing legislation but require implementation. The Regulations proposed establish the details through which the targets would be achieved.

Connie Hedegaard, EU Commissioner for Climate Action, said: ”With our proposals we are not only protecting the climate and saving consumers money. We are also boosting innovation and competitiveness in the European automotive industry. And we will create substantial numbers of jobs as a result. This is a clear win-win situation for everyone.

“This is one more important step towards a competitive, low-carbon economy. More CO2 reductions beyond 2020 need to be prepared and these will be considered in consultation with stakeholders.”

The Commission’s press release says that its analysis shows that the 2020 targets are achievable, economically sound and cost effective: the technology is readily available, its cost is substantially lower than previously thought and its implementation should boost employment and GDP and benefit consumers and industry.

The existing CO2 regulation for passenger vehicles, which expires in 2015 has already led to impressive results: average new car CO2 emissions have dropped from about 160 g/km in 2006 to 136 g/km in 2011; a 15% reduction. The annual rate of reduction is about twice what it was before introduction of mandatory emission targets.

The Commission says that each new car will on average save its owner around €340 in fuel costs in the first year, and an estimated total of €2904-3836 over the car’s lifetime (13 years), as compared with the 2015 target. For vans the average fuel cost saving is estimated at around €400 in the first year and €3363-4564 over their 13-year lifetime.

Other key elements of the proposal include:

• Vehicle weight as the underlying utility parameter—that is, the heavier a manufacturer’s car fleet, the higher the CO2 emission value allowed by the regulation. The factor used for passenger cars is 0.0333, meaning that for every 100 kg additional vehicle weight, 3.33 g/km more CO2 is allowed. The slope factor for LCVs is 0.0960.

• Super-credits for low emission vehicles. Between 2020 and 2023 every car with specific CO2 emissions of less than 35 g/km will be counted as 1.3 cars, up to a maximum of 20,000 new registrations per manufacturer.

As for the 2015 regulation, manufacturers can apply for a maximum of 7 g/km of credits for the use of ‘innovative technologies’ (so-called eco-innovation) which are not covered by the test cycle.

Excess emission premiums for manufacturers failing to meet their emissions target of €5 for the first g/km of excess emissions, €15 for the second g/km, €25 for the third g/km and €95 for any additional g/km of excess emissions.

The Commission is to review the specific emission targets and other aspects of the regulation by 31 December 2014, to establish the CO2 emission targets for the period beyond 2020.

The Commission expects that the regulations will result in avoided CO2 emissions of around 420 million tons in the period to 2030 and that these reductions will be achieved alongside net savings of between €80 and €295 per ton of CO2 avoided.

The Commission says that the 2020 targets offer a clear and stable legal environment for investment, and will further stimulate innovation by vehicle producers and component suppliers, further strengthening the EU industry’s competitive advantage. The introduction of similar CO2 or fuel efficiency standards in third countries would increase demand for CO2-reducing technologies and more efficient cars made in Europe.

The proposals will now be submitted to the European Parliament and the Council for discussion and adoption under the normal legislative procedure. The proposals would amend two existing Regulations establishing binding requirements for manufacturers to meet the 2015 mandatory target for cars and the 2017 target for vans.

Greenpeace says that a new loophole, inserted following lobbying by car companies, undermines the overall fleet target. Instead of calculating average fleet emissions by adding up the emissions of every car and dividing by the number of cars, carmakers will be allowed to offset the most polluting cars against a smaller number of their cleanest cars.

Greenpeace says that If this “accounting trick” makes it into the final law, carmakers will be able to sell more polluting cars, resulting in real average fleet emissions in excess of 95g CO2/km.

Greenpeace comments that the Commission’s target of 147g CO2/km for vans by 2020 requires only a “feeble” emission reduction effort of 19% in ten years and could encourage carmakers to attempt to reclassify large cars as vans to avoid tighter targets.

The environmental campaign group is also critical of the Commission’s failure to propose any efficiency targets for 2025, which would have provided a spur for futher innovation and keep European industry ahead of competition from elsewhere and particularly the US and China.

The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) responded to the announcement by saying that the fleet average targets are “extremely challenging”.

ACEA says that it will now work with its members to conduct a full analysis of how the proposed targets should be reached as well as their feasibility, and what this means in practice for the industry as a whole.

ACEA says that, contrary to some claims, the proposed targets for the European fleet are far more stringent than those in the US, China or Japan. The organisation claims that the regulations will increase manufacturing costs in Europe, creating a competitive disadvantage for the region and further slowing the renewal of the fleet.

ACEA’s Secretary General, Ivan Hodac said: “Considering that most manufacturers are losing money in Europe at the moment, the industry needs as competitive a framework as possible. Targets – while ambitious – must be feasible. The overall regulatory framework and market environment must be supportive, as also agreed in the recently concluded CARS 21 process.”

“The industry is diverse; the CO2-legislation is complex, and the cost implications are huge. ACEA and its members will now take the time they need to investigate the details of these proposals and their envisaged consequences.”