BEUC Study: Low carbon cars in the 2020s



This November, the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) published a study entitled “Low carbon cars in the 2020s: Consumer impacts and EU policy implications”. This study takes a look at the political, economic and social trends that will affect the decarbonisation of the road transport sector.


Key findings:


  • Electric vehicles will drop in price substantially. By 2024 the average four-year cost 2 of running an electric vehicle should match, if not be lower than a petrol car.
  • Over the lifetime of a petrol or diesel car bought in 2025 compared to one in 2015, consumers could save on average between €4,400 and €9,400.
  • Used car owners, who are often in lower income groups, will benefit the most from reduced fuel costs. This is due to cars losing their value rapidly in the first few years and in turn meaning they only pay a fraction of the manufacturing costs.
  • New technologies will not hit the market by themselves; binding EU CO2 reduction targets are essential for incentivising the deployment of fuel efficient technologies.
  • Whether or not energy prices are high or low in the future, all consumers will benefit from cars being more efficient and the knock on impacts of reducing demand for energy.


According to the study, by 2050,the CO2 emissions generated by the European transport sector will have to be 60% below 1990 levels. This means a 3% cut per year on average, sustained over 35 years . In order to achieve these sorts of reductions it will require substantial technological improvements in passenger cars over the coming years. Such improvements will mean changes in the cost of owning and using a vehicle.


BEUC commissioned the consultancy Element Energy to explore what kind of consumer impacts can be expected from the roll out of lower carbon and fuel saving technologies in the period between 2020 and 2030, with a specific emphasis on the total cost of ownership (TCO) of a vehicle. An assessment was also made of the implications of delivering lower emissions vehicles into the 2020s with regard to the adoption of new EU passenger car CO2 and fuel efficiency targets. It is expected that the European Commission will propose such targets in 2017.


This summary document outlines the main findings of the study that can be accessed on the BEUC website, and where all references of external studies can be found.


To read the full summary, please click here.


To read the full study, please click here.


Source: BEUC



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