EU debates car CO2 emissions

BEUC news - 15.06.2015

Car CO2 emissions are high on the EU agenda with this week’s high-level conference kicking-off discussions for upcoming legislative measures.

Delivering more fuel efficient vehicles must be the back bone of any future EU policy looking to tackle car CO2 emissions because it will mean reduced fuel costs for car drivers, real reductions in energy use and in turn will help tackle climate change and strengthen energy security.

Time for fair debate

But to have this debate, it is essential that projections of future costs are fair and properly account for the economies of scale that can be applied to the development of new technologies.

In 2013, BEUC conducted an analysis of setting a 2025 target of 70g CO2/km and which indicated significant fuel savings for motorists and attractive pay back periods of potentially higher priced vehicles.

We want to see the European Commission conduct a fair and honest impact assessment of setting a 70g target for 2025, and to provide a truly critical assessment of the projected costs so that consumers can be more certain about the potential impact on their wallets.

Economic benefits of fuel efficient cars to society

This is important because the preliminary results of a major Commission funded study evaluating the impact of current 2015 CO2 targets indicates there has been significant net economic benefits to society. This is a dramatic difference to the study conducted when the law was proposed, which indicated there would be a huge cost to society of 21 billion euros.

In a blog earlier this year by the International Council on Clean Transportation, it was highlighted how the original impact assessment had been heavily influenced by data provided by car manufacturers and showed that in contrast to an expected cost per vehicle to meet the 2015 target of €620, that in fact the actual costs have turned out to be only €200.

And if there is anything we have learnt from the misleading commercial practices of car makers concerning advertised fuel consumption performance, it is clear that the Commission and Member States when developing a new target for 2025 might be better inclined to take a pinch of salt when swallowing the spreadsheets of certain stakeholders.

Consumers need valuable information when buying a new car

Lastly, now that the EU has finally launched an evaluation of the car CO2 labelling Directive, the focus going forward must be on improving the Directive and, as an example, ensuring that labelling schemes across Europe provide consumers with information on the financial benefits of buying a more energy efficient car. This is the smart way towards getting buy in from consumers and can help achieve the potential of the car CO2 regulations themselves by encouraging consumers to buy the most energy efficient vehicles.

To see all our recommendations for a more sustainable EU mobility policy see our new brochure by clicking here or read our full vision paper by clicking here

For more information on our call for an ambitious 2025 target see our Factsheet by clicking here.