11.6.2012 Lower CO2 needed to reach EU targets
Beyond the EU's 130 g/km target for new car CO2 emissions in 2015, by 2020 a 95 g/km limit will be introduced meaning new cars in Europe will have to cut their carbon emissions by a third.
Currently, the average tailpipe emissions of new cars in the UK is just below 140 g/km. The EU targets are a major driving force for manufacturers to persue hybrid and electric vehicle development, as these technologies will significantly help to lower emissions, and avoid fines.
A European Commission document shows plans for even stricter emission targets to be in place for 2025 and 2030, in order to "provide longer term certainty for the automotive industry to invest and innovate."
Statistics from The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) have indicated sales are up for alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs), including hybrid and electric vehicles. Compared to 2011, the first five months of 2012 recorded a 7.0% rise in the sales of alternatively fuelled vehicles, in part due to more hybrid models being bought to market. However, out of a total of 868,166 new cars sold in the five months, only 12,145 were alternatively fuelled.
Greg Archer, of campaign group Transport & Environment, said: "Tighter CO2 standards for cars will be welcomed by drivers across Europe who will save 500 Euros per year at the petrol pump on average if this proposal is adopted."
Although tightening emissions targets has positive implications, many car manufacturers are in agreement that tough regulation could be damaging to the industry that is already struggling with the economic crisis and due increasing competition from overseas manufacturers.
Many say that 'smarter' regulation is needed with more flexibility, in order to successfully reduce emissions without risk of damaging the UK's car industry. Transport exhaust emissions currently account for around 30% of Europe's greenhouse gas emissions – effectively addressing CO2 from this sector is essential if we are to meet our climate change targets.
Greg Archer added, "There is a real danger that Europe is going to lose its competitive edge in low-carbon vehicles if suppliers don't get the investment certainty needed to develop advanced technologies," being aware that the EC had considered a target of 70 gCO2/km for 2025 in 2010.
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