EU needs to focus on engine efficiency, not on increasing fuel costs of car users

BEUC NEWS - 25.11.2014

At the October 23-24 European Council meeting on the 2030 Climate and Energy Package, member states explicitly agreed for transport to be included in Europe’s Emissions Trading System (ETS). This is a move that might lead to road fuel increasing in price and in turn jeopardize future fuel economy/CO2 targets for new vehicles.

Prior to the European Council, BEUC wrote to all EU Permanent Representatives calling on member states not to support a move to include transport into the EU’s ETS.

Our reasoning was simple: all available evidence concerning the impact of the ETS on transport does not signal overwhelming benefits for the environment, for motorists nor for investment into the energy efficiency of new vehicles (For further information, see a recent study by Cambridge Econometrics).

There is a real risk that the inclusion of transport in the ETS will lead to a price increase of fuel for motorists. This is because fuel suppliers would have to buy emissions allowances, equivalent to the carbon emissions of the fuel they sell, and pass on this cost to drivers. Because motorists have the tendency to absorb fuel price increases rather than change behaviour, this approach will not drive forward the sorts of fuel efficiency reductions that are necessary in the automobile sector nor will it help achieve the EU’s climate and energy security goals.

Rather, BEUC supports further efforts to develop post 2021 fuel economy/CO2 targets for new cars. BEUC has given previous advice highlighting the financial gains that car drivers should benefit from regarding the adopted 2021 targets and the development of 2025 targets.

We want to see post 2021 CO2 targets for new vehicles that ensure automakers take further strides to produce fuel efficient cars and which also offer motorists attractive pay back periods as a result.

To read our vision on sustainable mobility, click here.