CO2 emission limits for cars: mapping the route

To reduce the CO2 emissions of new cars sold in the EU to 95g/km by 2020, from 130g today, clean-car innovation should be encouraged by giving “super credit” weightings to each maker’s cleaner cars and setting more ambitious longer-term reduction targets, said the Environment Committee on Wednesday. Environmental performance testing methods should also be made more realistic, as a matter of urgency, it added.

MEPs approved a draft law setting out rules for achieving the 95g target (rapporteur Thomas Ulmer, EPP, DE), by 47 votes to 17 with 1 abstention, but also added indicative targets for post-2020 CO2 emissions: a range of 68 to 78g from 2025.

These emission limits are the average maximum allowed for car makers registered in the EU. Makers producing fewer than 1,000 cars a year should be exempt from the legislation, say MEPs.

Car makers would therefore have to produce, in addition to older, heavier or polluting models, enough cleaner ones to achieve a balance of 95g en 2020, on pain of penalties.

“Super-credit” weightings

To achieve this, makers could use “super credits”, which assign a favourable weighting to cars that emit less than 50g of CO2. Within each manufacturer’s “balance”, each of these extra clean cars would count as 3.5 cars in 2013, falling to 1.5 from 2016 and 1 from 2024.

Any increase in the emissions target for each manufacturer deriving from the “super-credits” calculation would be capped at 2.5g. MEPs also say it should not be possible to transfer any unused super-credits from one year to another.

Towards more reliable testing procedures

The committee notes that recent studies show that manufacturers have exploited weaknesses in today’s procedure for testing cars’ environmental performance, with the result that official consumption and emission figures are far from those achieved in everyday driving conditions.

MEPs therefore say that the new UN-defined World Light Duty Test Procedure (WLTP) should replace today’s procedure in EU law “as a matter of urgency”, and if possible by  2017, on the grounds that the WLTP better reflects the real conditions in which cars are used.

Next steps

Mr Ulmer will now lead negotiations with EU ministers, after the committee backed a proposal to open negotiations by 46 votes to 17 with 2 abstentions.

Source: European Parliament


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