CO2 emissions from new cars rise for second year running

Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions for cars registered in the EU in 2018 increased for the second year running, according to data from the European Environment Agency (EEA).

The EU’s environmental watchdog has credited the rise to the growing share of larger vehicles like SUVs in the market and the sluggish adoption of zero and low emission vehicles.

They’ve warned manufacturers they will have to reduce emissions ‘significantly’ to meet the upcoming EU target of 147 g CO2/km set for 2020.

The report also notes that CO2 emissions from cars were actually in steady decline from 2010 to 2016, by almost 22 grammes of CO2 per kilometre (g CO2/km) every year.

Julia Poliscanova, clean vehicles manager at campaign group Transport & Environment (T&A) said carmakers are playing a ‘high-risk game’.

‘They’re deliberately postponing sales of cleaner cars to maximise SUV-fueled profits,’ she said.

‘It may please their shareholders but it’s a tragedy for our planet. These figures are a stark reminder that governments need to be much more forceful when it comes to promoting zero-emission vehicles, in particular by reforming vehicle taxation and rolling out charge points.’

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT) called T&A’s claims ‘complete nonsense’.

‘Manufacturers are investing billions in ultra-low and zero emission vehicles and there is simply no benefit in holding them back – indeed there are more than 40 plug-in models on sale with many more to come this year.’

‘While industry can introduce the technology it cannot dictate the pace of change,’ he added.

Reykjavik, Iceland.
Iceland has the highest share of EVs sold in Europe.

Petrol cars were the most sold passenger vehicles in the EU, according to the report, making up 60% of all new registrations.

Diesel vehicles made up 36 % of the new registrations, dropping 9% since 2017, and 19% from 2011 when diesel cars peaked with a 55 % share of new registrations.

The combined shares of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) and battery electric vehicle (BEV) sales were highest in Iceland (15 %), Sweden (8.4 %) and the Netherlands (6.8 %).

Together with Estonia, Finland and Malta, these were the only countries where the average emissions of new cars decreased from 2017 to 2018.

Vans registered in the EU in 2018 emitted on average 158.1 g CO2/km, which is 2.0 grams more than in 2017. This is the first increase in average CO2 emissions from new vans since the regulation came into force in 2011, following a sharp decrease in 2017.

The report says the rise is due to an increase in the mass, engine capacity and size of the vehicles and further efficiency improvements are needed to reach the EU target for 2020.

Photo credit – Pixabay.