EC proposal to limit the CO2 emissions to fight climate change

The European Commission, on the 19th December 2007, proposed legislation to reduce the average CO2 emissions of new passenger cars to 120 grams per kilometre by 2012. The proposed legislation is the cornerstone of the EU's strategy to improve the fuel economy of cars, which account for about 12% of the European Union's carbon emissions. The proposal further underlines the EU's leadership and determination to deliver on its greenhouse gas commitments under the Kyoto Protocol and beyond.

The proposal will be a major step in lowering CO2 emissions in the EU. It will reduce the average emissions of CO2 from new passenger cars in the EU from around 160 grams per kilometre to 130 grams per kilometre in 2012 as part of the EU's integrated approach to achieve overall 120 grams per kilometre. That will translate into a 19% reduction of CO2 emissions and will place the EU among the world leaders of fuel efficient cars.

The results of the review of the Community Strategy to reduce CO2 emissions from passenger cars and light-commercial vehicles also envisaged a number of complementary measures which would contribute to a further emissions cut of 10g/km or equivalent, thus reducing the overall average emissions of the new car fleet sufficiently to meet the EU objective of 120g/km. These complementary measures include efficiency improvements for car components with the highest impact on fuel consumption, such as tyres and air conditioning systems. The Commission intends to come forward at a later date with proposals for efficiency requirements for such components and the carbon content of road fuels, notably through a greater use of biofuels.

The draft legislation defines a limit value curve of CO2 emissions allowed for new vehicles according to the mass of the vehicle. The curve is set in such a way that a fleet average of 130 grams of CO2 per kilometre is achieved. A manufacturer must ensure that by 2012 measured fleet average emissions are below the limit value curve, when all vehicles manufactured and registered in a given year by the manufacturer in question are taken into account. This means that the level of emissions by heavier cars will have to be improved proportionately more than lighter cars. Manufacturers will still be able to make cars with emissions above the limit value curve provided these are balanced by cars which are below the curve as long as the fleet average remains at 130 grams. Manufacturers' progress will be monitored each year by the Member States on the basis of new car registration data.

The proposal will provide manufacturers with the necessary incentive to reduce the CO2 emissions of their vehicles by imposing an excess emissions premium if their average emission levels are above the limit value curve. This premium will be based on the number of grams per kilometre (g/km) that an average vehicle sold by the manufacturer is above the curve, multiplied by the number of vehicles sold by the manufacturer. A premium of €20 per g/km has been proposed in the first year (2012), gradually rising to €35 in the second year (2013), €60 in the third year (2014) and €95 as of 2015. Most manufacturers are expected to meet the target set by the legislation, so significant penalties should be avoided.

More information
Details of the official communication on Reducing CO2 emissions from light-duty vehicles via the European Commision website.