New cars falling short of emission targets

Posted on 27 Aug 2008 by The Manufacturer

The automotive industry is failing to meet proposed EU targets on carbon dioxide emission reductions from new models, according to a report from the European Federation for Transport and Environment (T&E).

Special praise, however, was reserved for BMW which is reportedly reducing the emissions of its new vehicles at a rate four times faster than its competitors and peers.

The T&E measures CO2 emissions by the fuel efficiency of vehicles. It said BMW’s cars improved 7.3 per cent on average last year – from 184 grams of CO2 per kilometer to 170 g/km – against an industry average across the EU of 1.7 per cent. The latter figure was up from 0.7 per cent the previous year.

Environmental experts applauded BMW’s approach too. It said the German based firm were actually focusing on improving all its models rather than simply introducing ‘green eco-models’ as a token gesture to bring its average down.

Prius-wielding Toyota’s emissions decreased by 2.4 per cent and Ford’s were down only 0.2 per cent. Honda’s actually increased 1.1 per cent.

“With the threat of legislation looming, BMW has shown that even premium carmakers can seriously reduce CO2,” said Jos Dings, director of T&E. “But the slow response of most carmakers shows that the EU needs to keep up the pressure with challenging, long-term CO2 targets,” he went on to warn.

The T&E has set the automotive industry a target of 120 grams of CO2 per kilometer by 2012 – a target that was originally imposed by Angela Merkel in the mid-nineties to be hit by 2005. Then, it was left limply unfulfilled. Further to this, the T&E wants emissions down to 80 g/km by 2020.

The targets have been the subject of protest from many of the leading automotive brands but their alternative suggestion of applying targets only to environmentally friendly designed models was described by Dings as “the equivalent of demanding that a smoking ban should only apply to non-smokers.”

A PDF of the full T&E report, ‘Reducing CO2 Emissions from New Cars: A Study of Major Car Manufacturers’ Progress in 2007’, is available to download here.