20 December 2007

The European Commission proposed legislation which would establish mandatory limits on CO2 emissions from new passenger cars to help fight climate change and reduce fuel costs. Under the proposal, the average CO2 emissions from new cars in the EU would decrease from about 160 g/km to 130 g/km in 2012.

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The proposed legislation is the most important element of the EU’s strategy to improve the fuel economy of cars, which account for about 12% of the European Union’s carbon emissions. In addition, a number of complementary measures would contribute to a further emission cut of 10 g/km, to meet the EU CO2 emission target of 120 g/km. These complementary measures include efficiency improvements for other car components and increased use of biofuels.

The proposed regulation is similar in stringency and timing to the earlier Commission proposal. However, the idea of an industry-wide, average CO2 emission limit has been replaced by a more practical system, where each manufacturer separately must meet an average specific CO2 limit that depends on the mass of vehicles it manufactures.

The proposal will be passed to the Council and to the European Parliament as part of the co-decision legislative procedure. The Parliament has recently suggested that a more stringent standard be adopted of 125 g/km, but at a more relaxed timeline, with effect from 2015.

The Commission intends to come forward at a later date with proposals for efficiency requirements for other car components such as tires and air conditioning systems, and the carbon content of road fuels, notably through a greater use of biofuels. Both the fuel quality proposal being discussed by the EU institutions and the renewable energy directive due in January will help boost the use of biofuels in the transport sector.

Source: European Commission