ACEA President Argues for a Delay of European CO2 Limits on New Cars; Calls for Integrated Approach and CO2 Taxation
European automakers need at least three additional years prior to the implementation of a legislative framework mandating reductions in CO2 from cars, according to Sergio Marchionne, President of the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) and CEO of Fiat.
In a speech to the ACEA, Marchionne argued that the proposal from the European Commission mandating an average target for new cars of 130 g CO2/km by 2012 with an additional 10 g/km reduction from other measures such as biofuels, still puts too much onus on vehicle technology. The EC’s original target was 120 g/km from the vehicle.
The car industry demands a cost-effective strategy to further reduce CO2 from cars. We want an integrated approach combining further vehicle technology improvements with contributions from the fuel industry, policy makers and car users—and involving CO2-related taxation.
CO2-related taxation can significantly contribute to reducing carbon emissions from cars, because of its influence on consumer demand. Eleven EU Member States have already implemented such measures. But only a harmonized taxation system in all 27 Member States will really have an effect.
An integrated approach is essential, because it does not only affect new cars, but also existing cars on the roads or, in other words, traffic as a whole. That is important, as CO2 emissions from new cars have decreased significantly. The majority of emissions is caused by an aging car fleet on Europe’s roads, growing congestion, a lack of traffic management and an increase in mileage driven per user.—Sergio Marchionne
The announced legislative framework will most likely not be ready before 2009. By then, cars for 2012 will already be designed, he said.
A legislative process cannot be disconnected from our long-term planning of model changes. The industry must be given lead-time to meeting any new requirements until 2015 at the earliest.—Sergio Marchionne
The Japanese government set new CO2 emission goals in 2006 with a 2004 baseline, translating into a target for vehicle technology of 138 g CO2 per kilometer by 2015—a ten-year time line, he said. Japan is also taking an integrated approach, with 52% of its reduction coming from measures other than vehicle technology.
Between 1995 and 2005, the European automobile industry has reduced emissions from new cars by over 13% or, in absolute terms, 25 grams CO2, to 160 g/km. However, the industry will not meet its voluntary goal of 140 g/km by 2008—an impending failure that gave impetus to the decision to push for a legally binding targets.
Marchionne puts some of the responsibility on government and the consumer.
Today, one third of all European cars leaving the factory emits less than 140 grams. More than one million cars are put on the market every year that emit 120 grams or less. Impressive as this already is, the results could have been better, had there not been EU regulations that negated some of these achievements, a weak demand for fuel efficiency and a consumer preference for larger and safer cars.
A majority of consumers are not ready to pay for fuel-efficient solutions. Highly CO2-efficient cars, brought into the market in line with the 1998 Commitment [the voluntary agreement], have met with very low demand despite considerable marketing efforts.
Instead, buyers have opted for larger and safer cars, due to factors such as an increasingly dense traffic, demographic trends, and changes in lifestyle. Together with EU regulations, in particular on safety and air quality, this has had a huge impact on cars: within car segments, models have increased by an average 16% in weight over the last decade and are 10 cm longer as a consequence of pedestrian safety measures. Translated in CO2 emissions per kilometer, the low demand for fuel-efficiency, the market trend towards larger cars and burdens resulting from additional EU regulations cumulatively account for almost 15 grams. That is a lot.
Marchionne said that there is no single solution to cutting carbon emissions from cars. In the short term, progress will come from incremental enhancements in engine technology, improved aerodynamics and reduced vehicle weight, he projected. Technologies such as stop-start, gear-shift indicators, tire pressure monitors and efficient air conditioning will become standard.
By 2015—looking back at where we are today—we will see another significant reduction in carbon emissions from cars, comparable to the one delivered between 1995 and 2005.
A 13% reduction in CO2 by 2015—the percentage reduction in CO2 emissions from 1995 to 2005—would put the average level at about 140 g/km: the original voluntary target for 2008.
ACEA represents the thirteen major European car, truck and bus manufacturers. Members are: BMW Group, DAF Trucks, DaimlerChrysler, FIAT, Ford of Europe, General Motors Europe, MAN Nutzfahrzeuge, Porsche, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Renault, Scania, Volkswagen and Volvo Trucks.