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Climate change

Posted 11/11/2014 by cgodfrey

The latest figures from the European Environment Agency (EEA) show that almost all car and van manufacturers have met European carbon dioxide emission limits several years ahead of their deadlines. According to the EEA report, Monitoring CO2 emissions from passenger cars and vans in 2013, the average car sold in 2013 emitted 126.7g of CO2/passenger km, already below the legal threshold of 130g set for 2015. For vans the figures are below 175g by 2017, but they were already at 173.3g in 2013. In terms of vehicle number, 11.8m new cars and 1.2m new vans were registered in the EU in 2013.

As the report points out, however, although this trend is for the whole fleets, there are still differences, with different manufacturers making different levels of progress to meet their individual emissions targets, which are based on the average mass of the vehicle. For example, of the 84 European car manufacturers, 55 met their individual specific emissions targets in 2013, representing 99% of all new registrations.

Overall, new cars in 2013 were on average 14% more efficient than those sold in 2010. Of all the manufacturers, Renault had the lowest average emissions at 110g, followed by Toyota, Peugeot and Citroen. Vans sold in 2013 were 4% more efficient than those sold in 2012 and Renault also topped the larger van emissions listing.

All this does raise an issue that has been publicised in the general press - that of the testing methods employed in the EU to determine fuel consumption, and also emissions. The EEA emphasises that the emissions figures were based on what it calls the New European Driving Cycle test, although a new test, known as the Worldwide harmonised Light vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP), will be introduced in the future so that laboratory test may better represent actual vehicle performance on the road.

A date for the new test introduction has not been given, so in the meantime purchasers of new vehicles will have to make a best guess judgement on the figures, especially for fuel consumption, using the current figures as a guide.

Years ago, the last thing potential purchasers would be interested in would be emissions levels. Purchase decisions were based more on the look, the colour, and of course performance of a car. In today’s environmentally enlightened times, emissions have become increasingly important, not least because of their impact on the financial costs of actually running a vehicle.

Neil Eisberg - Editor

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