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Car emissions/fuel efficiency

Commission misses chance to shore up faltering EU car emissions rules after industry lobbying

The European Commission today presented proposals for implementing EU rules on CO2 emissions limits for vehicles for the year 2020 (1). It is welcome that the Commission has given a legislative basis for the car CO2 limits for 2020 but the Greens expressed regret that the proposals fell victim to industry lobbying and failed to commit to limits beyond 2020 or to remove some of the loopholes, which have seriously undermined the current legislation. Commenting on the proposals, Greens/EFA co-president Rebecca Harms said:

“This is a missed opportunity to shore up the EU's faltering car emissions rules. The watered-down proposals presented today have been strongly influenced by lobbying from big car manufacturers. As a result the curve that was adopted for implementing the limit across the EU's new car fleet is skewed to the advantage of manufacturers of bigger, more polluting cars. This will leave manufacturers of smaller, more efficient cars to shoulder more of the burden. The Commission also scaled back original proposals committing to introduce limits beyond 2020.

"Not only has the Commission failed to argue for more ambitious limits - in spite of this being technically possible and in the interest of consumers - it has also not sought to close some of the loopholes, which have undermined the current legislation. Provisions on 'supercredits' for low emissions cars and exemptions for ecoinnovation have effectively further undercut the already weak limits. By failing to resolve this, the Commission is in effect legislating for car manufacturers to bypass their limits.

"Cleaner, more fuel efficient cars are clearly in consumers' interest, particularly at a time of economic difficulty. Given this is technically possible, the Commission is failing its citizens and the environment by not pushing for more efficient vehicles. After the recent agreement on the energy efficiency directive fell short of closing the gap towards the EU's 2020 20% energy saving target, more ambitious fuel efficiency rules for cars would have helped to finally bridge this gap. Unfortunately, the full potential of this was not realised."

(1) With the initial limits currently being phased-in, the Commission has presented proposals for implementing a 2020 limit of 95 g of CO2 per km for cars, and a separate limit for vans.