EU weakening fuel efficiency standards
On 28 October the European Commission proposed legislation to reduce the average CO2 emissions of light commercial vehicles (vans) to 175 grams per kilometre. The proposal will be phased in from 2014 to 2016, and contains a long-term emission reduction target of 135 g/km by 2020. This is a weakening of the Commission’s initial proposals from 2007, which suggested 175 g/km should be reached by 2012 and 160g by 2015. Further softenings of the Commission’s original proposals are the postponement of plans to include bigger vans and minibuses, and the fact that the target of 135 g/km to be reached by 2020 will now be subject to review rather than fixed.
Average emissions from new vans in 2007 were 203 g/km, and for the average new van to meet the 175 g target by 2016 will thus mean a 14 per cent reduction over nine years. According to the European Federation for Transport and Environment (T&E) the best diesel cars have improved their CO2 performance by up to 27 per cent between 2007 and 2009, and with much of the technology for diesel cars being adaptable to vans, T&E says the standards should have been a lot stricter.
“The EU is once again weakening vehicle fuel effici-ency standards,” said T&E policy officer Kerstin Meyer. “It would be far better to invest precious financial resources in low-carbon technology than to waste them on importing oil.”
The vehicles affected by the legislation are vans, which account for around 12 per cent of the market for light-duty vehicles. This includes vehicles used to carry goods weighing up to 3.5 tons (vans and car-derived vans) and which weigh less than 2610 kg when empty.
Information: The European Commission : ec.europa.eu/environment/air/transport/co2/co2_cars_regulation.htm, and T&E : www.transportenvironment.org/