Azara Blog: European car makers allegedly doing poorly on CO2

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Date published: 2006/04/21

The BBC says:

European car makers are defaulting on a vital target to tackle climate change, according to an environmental group.

Their efforts to boost fuel efficiency are falling "far short" of a commitment made to the European Union in 1998, Transport & Environment says.

The more fuel a car uses, the more carbon dioxide - a key greenhouse gas - is emitted into the atmosphere.

But motor manufacturers say they are already working harder than many other industries to cut emissions.

In 1998, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (Acea) agreed with the European Commission an average emissions target of 140g of CO2 per kilometre for new cars by 2008.

Japanese and Korean manufacturers, which command a much smaller part of the European car market, have pledged to meet the same target. But they have an extra year to do so.

Last year, European manufacturers sold cars that produced on average 160g of carbon dioxide (CO2) per kilometre.

This was down 1% on the previous year, according to sales figures analysed by Transport and Environment (T&E).

T&E says car makers will now need an improvement rate of 4.3% per year over the next three years to meet their commitment. To date, T&E says, the best performance was 2.9%, recorded in 2000.

Jos Dings, director of T&E, said car makers "put all their technology into making cars heavier and more powerful, rather than more fuel efficient".
The UK SMMT (UK Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders) counters that "cross-legislative" factors complicate the issue.

"There are a whole range of measures we have to put into cars related to safety, such as side impact bars and airbags, as well as all the things people want for comfort such as aircon and sat-nav," a spokesman explained.

"All those things add to the car's weight. You've got to find a way of moving that weight at the same speed, which of course means you need more 'oomph'."

Well these will not be the only targets missed on the carbon front. And notice T&E doesn't seem to be too worried about making buses and trains more efficient (just like cars, trains are being made more powerful, hence bigger consumers of energy). And as the SMMT points out, some (but certainly not all) of the increase in car weight is down to the regulations imposed by the health and safety nutters. So the T&E press release seems more about the usual anti-car hatred amongst the so-called environmentalists than anything else.

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