December 20, 2007

European Commission proposes legislation to reduce CO2 emissions

Brussels, Belgium – The European Commission has proposed legislation to reduce the average CO2 emissions of new passenger cars to 120 grams per kilometre (g/km) by 2012. The proposed legislation is the cornerstone of the European Union’s strategy to improve the fuel economy of cars, which account for about 12 per cent of the EU’s carbon emissions.

“The aim of the legislation is to reduce CO2 emissions from cars in order to help fight climate change,” said Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas. “The legislation will also ensure important fuel savings, which will translate into considerable benefits for consumers. Moreover, it will encourage the car industry to invest in new technologies and actively promote eco-innovation, which is a driver for more and high-quality jobs.”

The proposal will reduce the average emissions of CO2 from new passenger cars in the EU from around 160 g/km to 130 g/km in 2012, as part of an integrated approach to achieve an overall 120 g/km. That will result in a 19 per cent reduction of CO2 emissions, which will place the EU among the world leaders of fuel-efficient cars.

Under the legislation, several auto manufacturers will be able to group together to form a pool, which can act jointly in meeting the specific emissions targets. Manufacturers in the pool will be required to abide by the rules of competition law. Independent manufacturers who sell fewer than 10,000 vehicles per year, and who cannot or do not wish to join a pool, can apply to the Commission for an individual target. Special-purpose vehicles, such as those designed for wheelchair access, are excluded from the scope of the legislation.

The Commission’s strategy also envisaged a number of complementary measures which would contribute to a further emissions cut of 10 g/km or equivalent, reducing the overall emissions of the new car fleet to meet the 120 g/km objective. These measures include efficiency improvements for components such as tires and air conditioning systems, which have the highest impact on fuel consumption. The Commission intends to come forward at a later date with proposals for efficiency requirements for such components and the carbon content of road fuels, notably through a greater use of biofuels.

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