30 August 2006

CO2 emissions from new cars in the EU-15 were down by 12.4% from 1995 through 2004, according to the European Commission’s annual report on CO2 emissions from new cars. However, the annual emission reduction rates have to be increased substantially if car manufacturers are to meet their 2008 CO2 emission target of 140 g/km.

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Commission Vice-President and Commissioner for Enterprise and Industry Günter Verheugen said: “Car manufacturers have made continuous and substantial progress since 1995. The situation is not satisfactory. I urge industry to step up their efforts. We expect that industry sticks to its commitments.”

The Commission emphasized that if industry did not honor its commitments, the Commission would have to consider taking measures, including legislative ones, to ensure that the necessary CO2 reductions were achieved.

The EU strategy to reduce CO2 emissions from cars rests on three pillars. The most important of these consists of separate voluntary commitments by the European, Japanese and Korean car manufacturers’ associations to reduce CO2 emissions from their cars to an average of 140 g/km by 2008 (for European manufacturers) and 2009 (for Japanese and Korean producers). The other two pillars of the strategy are consumer information (chiefly through fuel efficiency labelling of cars) and fiscal measures to promote the most fuel-efficient cars.

The commitments by European, Japanese and Korean manufacturers are an important measure to help the EU-15 reach its Kyoto Protocol target of cutting emissions of climate changing greenhouse gases to 8% below 1990 levels by 2012. Cars are responsible for more than 10% of EU CO2 emissions. CO2 emissions from road transport have risen by 22% since 1990, notably due to increases both in the number of cars on the roads as well as in the distances that are driven annually.

The Commission is also reviewing the options available to further reduce CO2 emissions from light-duty vehicles in the EU-25. The revised strategy will be based on an integrated approach to reduce CO2 emissions from cars, involving various stakeholders and extending, amongst others, to car technology, fuels, infrastructure and driver behavior.

Source: European Commission