Brussels, Belgium – Germany plans to introduce CO2-related taxation in July 2009, which will bring the number of European Union countries with CO2 taxation to fifteen.

Germany’s move will also mean that all Western European countries levy passenger car taxes that are partially or totally based on the car’s carbon dioxide emissions and/or fuel consumption, completing a trend that peaked in 2007 and 2008. In 2008, motor vehicle taxes in the EU 15 added up to €378 billion.

Romania was the first and is so far the only Eastern European Member State to introduce CO2-related taxation, as part of a more comprehensive overhaul of vehicle taxation in the country last year. In most Central and Eastern European countries, the main concern of policy makers remains to reduce the level of old vehicles on the streets, with pollutant emission standards that are below the Euro 3 level.

Fleet renewal improves both the CO2 efficiency and the level of pollutant emissions of cars, and is essential to achieve the environmental targets set. The market incentives and scrapping schemes recently introduced across the EU to soften the impact of the recession have benefitted both the economy and the environment, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) said.

Eleven EU countries have put a fleet renewal program into place so far, including market incentives and car-scrapping schemes. New-car registrations increased by 30 per cent in Germany in February after the launch of the scheme, and orders increased by more than 70 per cent; ACEA said that total sales for 2009 could reach 3.1 million cars, instead of the 2.8 million initially forecast. In France, roughly 20 per cent of all cars sold in January 2009 replaced old cars that qualified for the scrapping incentive, while 16 per cent of 2008 sales in Portugal replaced cars qualified for scrapping.

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