Honda Adjusts to Deteriorating Markets; Focus on Hybrids and Small Cars, Delayed Introduction of New Diesel in US and Japan
ExxonMobil Corporation and Qatar Petroleum Launch Next-Generation LNG Carrier, World’s Largest

European Parliament Climate Change Package Includes Vehicle CO2 Regulations and Low Carbon Fuel Standard

The European Parliament this past week approved the EU’s climate change package intended to achieve a 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, a 20% improvement in energy efficiency, and a 20% share for renewables in the EU energy mix by 2020. (Earlier post.)

Included in that package is the regulation setting CO2 emissions performance standards for new cars registered in the EU (based on the compromise worked out earlier, earlier post) as well as a revised fuel quality directive that incorporates a low carbon fuel standard.

Reducing CO2 emissions from new cars

The compromise backs the European Commission’s proposed target of an average of 120g of CO2/km for the whole car industry by 2012, compared to the current levels of 160g/km. The regulation sets an average target of 130g CO2/km for new passenger cars (category M1) to be reached by improvements in vehicle motor technology. It will be supplemented by additional measures to achieve a further 10g/km reduction, so as to reach the 120g/km target, through other technical improvements. The compromise introduces a long term target for 2020 for the new car fleet of average emissions of 95g CO2/km.

The compromise allows the phase-in of the target, with automakers needing to have 65% of their fleets in January 2012, 75% in January 2013, 80% in January 2014 and 100% from 2015 in compliance with their specific CO2 emissions target. In case the average emissions of CO2 exceed the targets, manufacturers will have to pay fines.

The regulation provides for “supercredits”—multipliers for each new passenger car with specific CO2 emissions of less than 50 g/km to use in the calculation of average specific CO2 emissions. Each car with less than 50 g/km CO2 will count as 3.5 cars in 2012 and 2013; 2.5 cars in 2014; 1.5 cars in 2015; and 1 car from 2016 on.

For cars capable of running on E85, the regulation allows a 5% reduction in the CO2 emissions as stated in the certificate of conformity for each vehicle through 2015, “in recognition of the greater technological and emissions reduction capability of running on biofuels.” This reduction shall apply only where at least 30% of the filling stations in the Member State in which the vehicle is registered provide this type of alternative fuel complying with the sustainability criteria for biofuels set out in Community legislation.

Suppliers or manufacturers may apply for a special “eco-innovation” credit for CO2 savings achieved through the use of innovative technologies. The total contribution of those technologies can be up to 7 gCO2 reduction of each manufacturers average specific emissions target. The Commission will adopt detailed provisions for a procedure to approve such innovative technologies by 2010.

The CO2 emissions for passenger cars are initially to be calculated for the purposes of the regulation based on the mass as a function of the utility of the cars on a linear basis. Mass is the initial parameter selected.

From 2012 to 2015, the formula is:

Specific emissions of CO2=130 + a * (M-M0)
where M = mass of vehicle in kg, M0= 1372 kg, and a=0.0457

M0 represents the average mass of new passenger cars. By the end of October 2014, and every three years thereafter, M0 will be calculated based on the average mass of new passenger cars in the previous three calendar years.

For 2016 on, the formula is:

Specific emission of CO2=130 + a * (M–M0)
where M = mass of vehicle, M0 is the calculated average, and a=0.0457

Beginning in 2012, the Commission is to carry out an impact assessment in order to review by 2014 the procedures for measuring CO2 emissions. The Commission is supposed to make proposals to adapt the procedures to adequately reflect the real CO2 emissions behavior of cars and, in particular, proposals to include the approved innovative technologies that could be reflected in the test cycle.

By 2014, the Commission is to publish a report on the data availability of footprint as a utility parameter for determining specific emissions targets and, if appropriate, submit a proposal to the European Parliament and to the Council to amend the regulations.

Low carbon fuel standard

The revised fuel quality directive requires fuel suppliers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions caused by extraction or cultivation, including land-use changes, transport and distribution, processing and combustion of transport fuels (i.e. fossil fuels like gasoline, diesel and gas-oil and also biofuels, blends, electricity and hydrogen) of up to 10% by 31 December 2020.

The 10% reduction consists of:

  • At least 6% by 31 December 2020, compared to the EU-average level of life cycle greenhouse gas emissions per unit of energy from fossil fuels in 2010, obtained through the use of biofuels, alternative fuels and reductions in flaring and venting at production sites.

  • A further 2% reduction (subject to a review) obtained through the use of environmentally friendly carbon capture and storage technologies and electric vehicles.

  • An additional further 2% reduction obtained through the purchase of credits under the Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol.

Biofuels used for compliance with the greenhouse gas reduction target are required to fulfil sustainability criteria.



Sean Lee

"For cars capable of running on E85, the regulation allows a 5% reduction in the CO2 emissions as stated in the certificate of conformity for each vehicle through 2015, "

5% reduction means if the car emits 160g/kg it only has to reduce to 136g/km when using biofuel?


"For cars capable of running on E85, the regulation allows a 5% reduction in the CO2 emissions as stated in the certificate of conformity for each vehicle through 2015, "

Why even have this? Wouldn't ethanol already be covered in their new low carbon fuel standard? What makes ethanol qualify for this and not some other biofuel?


Do they mean the 5% reduction for cars already using E85 vs. others that can simply switch to E85? Or are they trying to encourage energy independence?


Looks like a lot of purposeful confusion to hide the fact that most governments have moved beyond this idea to implementing electrification of transport. Which obviates tailpipe terror.

Myka Macintyre

We live in France and drive a LPG / petrol car. When we travel outside France, we CANNOT refill with LPG as the connection is different and seems not to be interchangeable. To us it would be most logical for the EU to insist on a UNIVERSAL connection throughout the EU countries for LPG.



Would it not be possible for you, as a driver, to carry an adaptor with you on those trips? A short section of pipe with fittings to match up the two different standards. Or is this kind of juryrig illegal for safety reasons?

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)