New cars sold in Europe last year were on average 3.3% more fuel efficient than those sold the previous year, according to the European Environment Agency (EEA).
The latest figures from the EEA indicate that average CO2 emissions per kilometre are continuing to fall as more Europeans buy fuel efficient cars. For the 12.8 million new vehicles registered last year, the average CO2 emissions were 135.7 g CO2/km – 4.6 g lower than in 2010.
The improvement is down to changes in buying behaviour – with more buyers choosing diesels, better technology and engine efficiency, says the EEA.
Most carmakers are on track to meeting European Union targets of average maximum emission of 130 g CO2/km by 2015 and 95 g CO2/km by 2020.
The EEA reported last year that there was some way to go for manufacturers to meet the 2015 target, but the present figures put the industry largely on target.
“We can see new cars becoming more efficient year-on-year – a good example of regulation helping industry to make real improvements,” comments Jacqueline McGlade, executive director of the EEA.
But CO2 emissions from road transport are now responsible for around one-fifth of the EU’s total emissions, having risen 23% between 1990 and 2010.
And registrations of new cars are continuing to rise, after flattening off during the recession, with levels in 2011 back to those seen in 2007.
Moreover, although McGlade says sales of electric cars are “encouraging”, only 8700 all-electric vehicles were registered last year, making up a mere 0.07% of new registrations.
But EU Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard says the industry is making good progress.
“This is a good sign for the capacity of Europe’s car industry to innovate and thus maintain global competitiveness while making their products more efficient,” she commented.
For further information:
Europe’s lead in fuel efficient cars could stall, warns T&E (8-Jun)
Nissan to produce electric van in Barcelona (29-May)
Norway laps up 1000 Nissan LEAFs in six months (30-Apr)
UK new car emissions fall by 4.2% in 2011 (18-Apr)
21 June 2012