EU study: Car fuel consumption test is cutting consumer benefits of CO2 targets

BEUC NEWS - 02.07.2015

Despite consumers in Europe benefiting from improvements to vehicle fuel efficiency as a result of existing EU passenger car CO2 targets, the current EU fuel consumption test method has denied drivers additional cost savings as car makers continue to exploit test loopholes, a new report published by the European Commission has found.

The report, compiled by consultancy Ricardo-AEA, states that fuel efficiency targets have been substantially more cost effective than predicted and have provided net economic benefits to society, rather than pre-legislation estimates that indicated net economic losses.

However, due to car makers exploiting loopholes of the fuel consumption test, the benefits of EU’s CO2 targets are being diminished as fuel savings are not materialising to the extent possible in the real world. Without a reform to the testing protocol, the report still estimates that significant lifetime fuel savings can be achieved for cars registered after 2013 (€1,336 for petrol cars and €981 for diesel cars), but that these savings will be substantially lower than the predicted €2,649 to €3,709 savings.

The study also supports recent findings by European car makers  that average retail prices of new cars have not increased as a result of the introduction of CO2 limits. This means car owners buying a new or second hand car should not pay a premium for a more energy efficient vehicle and will also benefit from lower fuel costs.

For more information on CO2 fuel consumption testing consult our recently published factsheet .