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Average CO2 emissions from new cars in the EU dropped by 3.7% last year

The European Environment Agency today published provisional data on average CO2 emissions from new passenger cars sold in the EU in 2010, showing a 3.7% drop compared to last year. This is the second largest annual decline since the monitoring scheme began in 2000. The data are now available to car manufacturers for review before formal validation by the Commission.

Last year’s improvements bring the average CO2 emissions of cars registered in the EU to 140 grams per km. At this rate the European target of 130 g CO2/km will be met earlier than the 2015 deadline. The decrease in average emissions in 2010 was lower than in 2009 (5.1%); the results in 2009 were possibly influenced by the economic crisis and the scrappage schemes in some member states.

The average engine capacity of the cars sold in 2010 slightly increased compared to 2009. Also the average weight of cars rose considerably after the sharp decrease seen in 2009 and is now back at the level seen in the years prior to the economic crisis. However, average CO2 emissions per kilometer travelled were cut thanks to improved vehicle technology and fuel efficiency.

Had weight not increased, the CO2 reduction would have been 5%, claimed Transport & Environment (T&E), a European sustainable transport NGO.

This report shows that cars are getting heavier again. After a drop in average weight linked to government subsidies which favored cheaper, smaller cars, the SUVisation of the EU fleet is back. And that is no surprise as EU rules favor heavier cars by allowing them to emit more CO2. That needs to change. The EU should be favoring more efficient saloons, estates and hatchbacks rather than encouraging gas guzzling, tall and heavy SUVs. Promoting heavier cars is holding back CO2 reductions.

—Arne Richters, programme manager for clean cars at T&E



Knock. Knock. Hello... Anyone home??? Listen, NOBODY really CARES how much CO2 cars emit. Why? It's an empty metric. Like empty calories. Just a lot of bloat.

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