The Environment Committee of the European Parliament today voted 46-19 to hold to an average target of 120g of carbon dioxide per kilometer from new passenger cars (the M1 category) by 2012. It also voted for a new long-term target of 95g CO2/km for 2020. The current level is around 160 g/km.
Of the 120 g/km target, 130 g/km is to be reached by improvements in vehicle motor technology. The further 10 g/km reduction is to be obtained by using other technical improvements such as better tires or the use of biofuels.
|CO2 Targets and Fuel Economy Equivalents|
|The amount of CO2 produced by fuel combustion depends on the carbon content of the fuel. In calculating CO2 emissions, the US EPA uses a Federal standard of:|
|To calculate the CO2 emissions from a gallon of fuel, EPA multiplies carbon emissions by the ratio of the molecular weight of CO2 (m.w. 44) to the molecular weight of carbon (m.w.12): 44/12. This results in:|
|Applied to the 130g motor vehicle technology target, this would result in approximate equivalent vehicle fuel consumption of: |
|Applied to the current 160 g/km average, this results in approximate equivalent vehicle fuel consumption of: |
Members of Parliament (MEPs) in the committee rejected proposals for transitional measures for the car industry until 2015. Car manufacturers exceeding the targets will have to pay fines—“excess emissions premiums”—from 2012 for every excess gram of CO2.
The vote, based on a report drawn up by Guido Sacconi (PES, IT), concerned a draft regulation on passenger cars, which account for 12% of overall EU emissions of CO2, according to European Commission figures. The new regulation setting standards for new passenger cars (the M1 category) is part of the EU’s effort to reduce CO2 emissions by 20% by 2020.
The European Commission had proposed that the targets should only be applied to cars with a reference mass of less than 2,610 kg, but the Environment Committee voted to include heavier cars as well.
In line with Parliament’s resolution of 24 October 2007, MEPs agreed to set a long-term target of average emissions of no more than 95 gCO2/km as from 1 January 2020 by means of improvement in vehicle motor technology. No such target was included in the Commission’s proposal. The European Commission, says the committee, will have to present a new proposal by 31 December 2014 setting average emissions from 2020 at no more than 95 g/km. That proposal must be preceded by an overall assessment of the impact on the car industry and its allied industries, coupled with a cost-benefit analysis, taking into account the development of technological innovations for CO2 reduction.
The committee rejected (by 23 votes in favor with 39 against and two abstentions) an amendment which would have allowed transitional measures for the car industry with a gradual of the 2012 target. That amendment would have given manufacturers interim targets of ensuring average CO2 emissions of 70% of its fleet in both 2012 and 2013, and 80% of its fleet in 2014 complying with the car manufacturer’s specific CO2 emissions target.
MEPs equally rejected the idea of fixing at €50 (US$73) the “excess emissions premiums” manufacturers will have to pay for each gram of carbon dioxide over the target. Instead the committee supported the Commission’s proposal gradually to increase these fines from €20 (US$29) in 2012 to €95 (US$139) from 2015. The EU is to invest these revenues in the development of zero emissions cars and other technological innovations which reduce vehicle CO2 emissions.
The committee maintained the calculation of the CO2 target based on vehicle mass but wants the Commission to study alternative parameters such as footprint—i.e. track-width times wheelbase.
Another amendment adopted by the committee stipulates that car manufacturers can apply to be given special credits for eco-innovations—innovative CO2-reducing technologies on the car, such as energy efficient lights—which are currently not included in the normal test cycle. The credit associated with a technology shall be no higher than 75% of the real-world CO2 reduction.
MEPs agreed with the Commission on allowing small independent manufacturers which produce less than 10,000 new registered cars per year to be released from their specific emissions targets. A new provision gives larger independent car manufacturers—producing 10,000 to 300,000 new registered cars per year—the chance to apply for an alternative target of reducing their average specific emissions by 25% compared to 2006 levels.
Following the advice of Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee, MEPs agreed that the CO2 directive should be adopted under the environment chapter (Article 175 of the Treaty) and not under article single market rules (Article 95) as originally proposed by the Commission. MEPs believe that article 175 would better serve the aim of the legislation and allows premiums to be imposed to make it more effective.
First reading in the plenary of the Parliament will be in October.
EP resolution on CO2 from cars (24 October 2007)