Azara Blog: EU car manufacturers allegedly not improving fuel efficiency enough

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Date published: 2006/10/25

The BBC says:

Three-quarters of Europe's car brands are failing to improve fuel efficiency fast enough to meet a key European emissions target, a study has claimed.

The top performer on fuel efficiency was Fiat; while Nissan came bottom of the table.

The report is the first to show the progress of individual European car brands on meeting the commitment to cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

Improving fuel efficiency is vital in efforts to tackle climate change.

The more fuel a car uses, the more of the greenhouse gas CO2 is released into the atmosphere.

In 1998, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (Acea) pledged to the European Union on behalf of its members to reduce the average CO2 emissions for new cars to 140 grams per kilometre by 2008. This represents a reduction of 25% over 1995 levels.

Japanese and Korean manufacturers, which command a smaller part of the European car market, made similar commitments. But they have an extra year to do so.

What the BBC fails to mention is that of course although individual models might have improvements in efficiency, it is the overall mix of sales by a given car manufacturer that determines whether or not this goal is met. So in some sense the EU wants drivers to buy worse cars and somehow the manufacturers are supposed to force that. And at the same time the EU is piling loads of health and safety requirements on cars which generally leads to worse fuel efficiency. So the EU (as usual) is being rather disingenuous in all of this. And on the other hand, increases in fuel efficiency are rather a disaster for the EU states since they rely heavily on fuel duty to prop up their tax coffers. (Well, they will get around that one by arbitrarily hugely increasing the duty rate.)

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