Most of our cars run on oil-based fuel – an increasingly scarce resource – making driving more and more expensive, and bad for the climate/environment. CO2 emissions from cars are directly related to the car’s fuel consumption – each 1% decrease in CO2 emissions results in a 1% decrease in fuel consumption. A problem has been that CO2 emission reductions were often only achieved in the laboratory, not under real driving conditions. The EU is now putting in place new reduction targets for the 2020s, which should benefit consumers. It is up to authorities to ensure these are achieved on-the-road, to the benefit of consumers’ wallets.
Information at the point of sale can help car buyers opt for more fuel-efficient cars. A unified car emissions label across all EU countries would help consumers do so and influence the supply of more sustainable options, such as electric cars. If consumers are to make the most out of such options, European countries must also work towards an accessible and easy-to-use charging infrastructure.
Other developments in the car sector create new and different challenges for consumer policy. The increase in local diesel bans urgently requires policy-makers’ attention. New innovations such as increased automation and Internet-connected features pose a whole new set of questions regarding liability, safety, data protection, fair competition and more.