|Performance of top 20 brands relative to projected 2005 reduction target (100% line) required to meet 140g/km commitment. Click to enlarge.|
Three-quarters of the 20 major car brands sold in Europe last year have failed to improve fuel efficiency at the rate needed to meet a key EU greenhouse gas emissions target, according to a new study commissioned by the organization Transport & Environment (T&E).
The study is the first to track brand-level progress in reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions under the terms of a commitment made by the car industry to the EU to reduce the average CO2 emissions from their new car sales in the EU. The EU’s objective is to reduce the average CO2 emissions of newly sold passenger cars in the EU to 120 g/km by 2010. The 120 g/km target represents a 35% reduction over 1995 levels.
Improving fuel efficiency is a basic approach to reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases resulting from transportation. The 120 g/km target corresponds to an average fuel consumption of 5 l/100km (47 mpg US) for gasoline cars and 4.5 l/100 km (52.3 mpg US), to be measured on the official European driving cycle.
The European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) committed on behalf of its members in 1998 to reduce average CO2 emissions from their new car sales in the EU to 140 g/km by 2008—a 25% reduction over 1995 levels. The EU informally postponed its deadline for 120 g/km to 2012.
In 1999, the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) and the Korean Automobile Manufacturers Association (KAMA) made similar 140 g/km commitments for their EU sales, with a one year offset to 2009. All manufacturers, in other words, had a decade to meet their voluntary target.
The 140 g/km commitment corresponds to an average fuel consumption of 6 l/100km (39.2 mpg US) for gasoline cars, and 5.3 l/100km (44.4 mpg US) for diesels.
|Progress over time in the CO2 commitment of the three car manufacturing associations, and distance to target if historic rate of improvement is not changed. Click to enlarge.|
In April 2006, T&E published an analysis that showed that the European car industry as a whole was not tracking to meet its greenhouse gas improvements. (Earlier post.) (See chart at right.)
For this new study, T&E commissioned the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP), UK to analyze sales data at the brand level from the period 1997-2005 supplied by R.L. Polk Marketing Systems GmbH.
The study includes the 20 car brands that sold more than 150,000 cars in the EU15 in 2005, representing more than 90% of car sales in the EU.
To determine whether or not the automakers are tracking to meet their commitment, IEEP calculated the rate of progress that each of the brands should have achieved by 2005 in order to achieve the 140g/km objective in 2008 or 2009, under a reduction pathway with a constant percentage of improvement per year.
According to the study, 75% of carmakers are failing to cut emissions fast enough to meet those targets. The study found that Nissan is the worst performer in Europe followed by Suzuki, Mazda, Audi, Volvo, BMW and Volkswagen. These seven all cut emissions at less than half the rate needed to meet their commitment.
Fiat is the best performer in Europe, followed by Citroën, Renault, Ford and Peugeot. All five are on track to meet or exceed the target by 2008.
Toyota, maker of the low-emission Prius hybrid, came in seventh (behind Ford and GM’s Opel/Vauxhall) and is failing to improve efficiency across its range at the rate needed, according to the analysis. Honda came in number 11. The study notes that if climate targets are to be met, companies must improve efficiency across their entire range. One or two very efficient models that sell in limited numbers are not enough.
Renault is on track while Volkswagen is way off even though Renault started with higher emissions in 1997. Clearly the target is achievable, but as long as seventy-five percent of carmakers go unpunished for their failure, we will never make the necessary progress.
Europe must kiss its voluntary targets goodbye and waste no more time in coming up with legally binding measures to double fuel-efficiency in the next decade. Individual carmakers must be held responsible and punished if they fail.—Aat Peterse, Clean Cars Program Manager, Transport and Environment
|Rank||Brand||2005 sales||CO2 emissions in g/km||% 2005 Target Achieved|
|1997 avg.||2005 avg.||reduction 1997-2005||2005 reduction target|