European Commission Proposes Legislation Limiting CO2 Emissions From Cars; Fines for Missing the Target
The European Commission today proposed legislation that would begin implementing an integrated approach to reducing the average CO2 emissions of new passenger cars to 120 grams per kilometer by 2012. The current average is around 160 g/km.
Under the proposal, vehicles will need to reduce average emissions to 130 g/km by 2012. The remaining 10 g/km will come from complementary measures including efficiency improvements for car components with the highest impact on fuel consumption, such as tires and air conditioning systems. The Commission intends to come forward at a later date with proposals for efficiency requirements for such components and the carbon content of road fuels, notably through a greater use of biofuels.
(The target of 130 g/km works out to approximately 42 mpg US for a gasoline car and 48 mpg US for a diesel car, using the carbon balance values used by the US EPA in its calculations.)
The draft legislation defines a limit value curve of CO2 emissions allowed for new vehicles according to the mass of the vehicle. The curve is set in such a way that a fleet average of 130 grams of CO2 per kilometre is achieved.
A manufacturer must ensure that by 2012 measured fleet average emissions are below the limit value curve, when all vehicles manufactured and registered in a given year by the manufacturer in question are taken into account. This means that the level of emissions by heavier cars will have to be improved proportionately more than lighter cars compared to today. Manufacturers will still be able to make cars with emissions above the limit value curve provided these are balanced by cars which are below the curve as long as the fleet average remains at 130 grams. Manufacturers’ progress will be monitored each year by the Member States on the basis of new car registration data.
The proposal will provide manufacturers with the necessary incentive to reduce the CO2 emissions of their vehicles by imposing an excess emissions fine if their average emission levels are above the limit value curve. This fine will be based on the number of grams per kilometer (g/km) that an average vehicle sold by the manufacturer is above the curve, multiplied by the number of vehicles sold by the manufacturer. A fine of €20 (US$28) per g/km has been proposed in the first year (2012), gradually rising to €35 (US$50) in the second year (2013), €60 (US$86) in the third year (2014) and €95 (US$137) as of 2015. Most manufacturers are expected to meet the target set by the legislation, so significant penalties should be avoided.
Under the legislation, several manufacturers will be able to group together to form a pool which can act jointly in meeting the specific emissions targets. Manufacturers in this pool will be required to abide by the rules of competition law.
Independent manufacturers who sell fewer than 10,000 vehicles per year and who cannot or do not wish to join a pool can apply to the Commission for an individual target. Special purpose vehicles such as those designed to accommodate wheelchair access are excluded from the scope of the legislation.
The proposal will now be communicated to the Council and to the European Parliament as part of the co-decision legislative procedure.