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New cars in Europe in 2013 collectively met 2015 CO2 target two years ahead of the deadline

1 May 2014

Chart — Evolution of CO2 emissions from new passenger cars by fuel
2015 target: 130 g CO2/km. 2020 target: 95 g CO2/km. AFV are alternative fuel vehicles: electric, LPG, NG-biomethane, E85, biodiesel, hybrid and plug-in vehicles. Source: EEA. Click to enlarge.

Cars sold in Europe in 2013 were collectively 4% more efficient than the year before, according to provisional data from the European Environment Agency (EEA). The average CO2 emissions level of a new car sold in 2013 was 127 g CO2/km; the target for 2015 was 130 g/km. Thus, in 2013 the European Union fleet already collectively met its legal target for 2015.

While the collective target has been met, it has not yet been confirmed whether each individual manufacturer has met its own target, which is based on the average mass of the cars they sell. The EEA will publish final data on manufacturers’ individual performance in the autumn.

The average per-km CO2 emissions for gasoline-fueled cars was 128.62 grams; for diesel, 127.16 grams; and for alternative fuel vehicles (electric, LPG, NG-biomethane, E85, biodiesel, hybrid and plug-in vehicles), 104.14 grams. EEA noted that manufacturers will have to keep reducing emissions levels to meet the target of 95g CO2/km by 2021.

Key findings in the provisional report include:

  • New cars have become more efficient despite an increase in the average mass. The main drivers of efficiency have been technological improvements and higher sales of diesel cars, which typically have lower CO2 emissions levels than gasoline equivalents. However, the preference for diesel seems to be falling, making up just over half the cars sold in 2013.

  • The efficiency gap between new gasoline and diesel vehicles has been decreasing in recent years. Compared to the current levels the average emissions gap between gasoline and diesel was more than 10 times higher in 2000.

  • There were 11.8 million new cars registered in the EU in 2013. This figure has declined continuously since its peak in 2007, when 15.5 million vehicles were registered.

  • There were 24,000 electric vehicles registered in 2013, which is a small fraction of the fleet but which represents a 71 % increase on 2012 numbers. Around 31,000 plug-in hybrid cars were registered in 2013.

  • On average, the most efficient cars were bought in the Netherlands (109 g CO2/km), Greece (111g) and Portugal (112g) while the country selling the least efficient cars was Latvia (147g) followed by Estonia (147g) and Bulgaria (142g). The biggest cars, measured by mass, were bought in Latvia, Sweden and Luxembourg. People in Malta, Denmark and Greece bought the lightest models on average.

There seem to be two distinct markets in Europe, the EEA suggested, with older EU Member States buying significantly more efficient models compared to newer members.

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