Car drivers 'will save cash thanks to CO2 rules'

Tailpipes of new cars The EC argues strict standards are essential to maintain the competitiveness of European auto makers

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Drivers will save £3,300 (€3,800) over the lifetime of their cars if the EU imposes strict new standards on manufacturers, a report claims.

It says if CO2 emissions from the average car were limited to 95g per km, fuel use would be cut by a quarter.

The innovations to the vehicle would add about £860 (€1,000) to the price of the average car in 2020.

But that extra cost would be offset in less than three years through fuel savings of around £350 (€400) per year.

The joint report from consultancies Cambridge Econometrics and Ricardo-AEA says that once all EU cars and vans meet the standard, Europe’s vehicle fleet will be €35bn cheaper to run each year.

The report is timed to coincide with the first of a series of votes in the European Parliament on car standards.

The 95g limit is proposed by the Commission. It argues that strict standards are essential to sustain the competitiveness of Europe’s car makers and help the EU meet its targets of reducing transport CO2 emissions 60% by 2050.

Price point

The technology is available: cars like the Ford Focus ECOnetic are already achieving the proposed 2020 standard.

The plans may be contentious in Parliament, though, with some German MEPs fearing their impact on manufacturers building bigger, heavier cars.

Monday’s report was commissioned by a group of organisations which believe that Europe’s car makers need to ratchet up efficiency to compete with US manufacturers facing President Obama’s demand of 93g/km in 2025 – a demanding target for US car makers starting from a low base.

The new report estimates that increased spending on vehicle technology will create 350,000-450,000 net additional jobs if the 95g limit is imposed in Europe. This figure will doubtless be contested.

Petrol pump The balance to be struck is between the cost and long-term efficiency of cars

The study was funded by a group including Nissan, the European Association of Automotive Suppliers, GE, the union body IndustriAll and the European Climate Foundation. It focuses only on traditional-engine cars.

Improvements are likely to come from many innovations, including building cars from aluminium – much lighter than steel – and installing universal stop-start technology which turns off the engine at traffic lights.

Volkswagen has already committed itself to the 95g target.

In the run-up to the Geneva Motor Show, Volkswagen’s Martin Winterkorn said the firm intended to become the world’s most environmentally sustainable car maker: “This is a Herculean task calling for the best efforts of all our 40,000 developers. We can do it.”

The European car makers' association ACEA told me the rules would harm some manufacturers.

A spokesman warned: “Price is the number-one factor motivating a customer's purchasing decision. In a sector where margins are narrow and consumers have a wide range of choice, even a slight relative price rise can make a manufacturer’s range uncompetitive.”

The authors of Monday’s study point out that this argument underlines the need for new standards to ensure a level playing field for all car makers.

But ACEA continued: “The fact that a car may be cheaper to run once on the road is not relevant if the consumer cannot afford the new technology and instead opts for a used car, with higher emissions – or for keeping his old vehicle, again with higher emissions."

The campaign group Transport and Environment says this is an old argument from an industry which has been forced by previous standards to improve efficiency and reduce fuel bills. The group argued that the EU needed long-range standards to 2025 to drive further innovation.

It also warns that manufacturers are becoming adept at manipulating tests to make cars appear more efficient than they really are.

The Commission will need to ensure that the move towards diesel vehicles to improve efficiency does not lead to increased local air pollution from particulates.

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  • rate this

    Comment number 182.

    By the time this comes into effect, any savings they are being predicting now will be negated, as the price of fuel would be so high. It is just another ploy to get more new cars sold. Alternative fuel methods need to be invested in Now!! and Not Batteries.

  • rate this

    Comment number 181.

    178. musictechguy
    "Why aren't the BBC giving us a forum to comment on the banking crisis in Cyprus?"
    There is one and it has more comments than this forum. Try looking in the business section and it also features on the news home page

  • rate this

    Comment number 180.

    Would anyone like to buy this "Scotch Mist"?

    As with Natural Gas, the more technology is used to improve the efficiency of anything, the more prices increase to cover the decrease in demand.

    While not totally self defeating, energy prices go up and up even though we use less and less.

    The CO2 emission scheme is a route to make a new tax revenue out of fresh air. Why not ban big & fast cars?

  • rate this

    Comment number 179.

    Another distortion is that car manufacturers can now programme an engine to recognise the test cycle - the speeds and intervals are very precise. The engine can then run in test mode, to produce the desired results for publication. In everyday use, the mpg and emissions won't be that different to older cars.

  • rate this

    Comment number 178.

    Why aren't the BBC giving us a forum to comment on the banking crisis in Cyprus?

  • rate this

    Comment number 177.

    Re: 90 Wigmy

    Sorry, Motability hire cars for around £50 per week plus non-refundable deposit, not £70 as I stated. It's still not free though!

  • rate this

    Comment number 176.

    The government's finances are inextricably linked to what they can screw out of us for tax on fuel, alcohol and tobacco. Every 'saving' is not a 'saving' for the consumer as the unit price will go up, so only the manufacturer will save as they dispense lower numbers of units at a higher cost to the consumer per unit.

  • rate this

    Comment number 175.

    Complete rubbish. They invented a new tax called Carbon Tax to take more money from ordinary people. Tax is tax, labelling it a carbon tax is just a cynical attempt to rob us and make us think it's our fault.

    They should tax the hot air in Brussells - we'd all be rich!

  • rate this

    Comment number 174.

    The key phrase here is PER KM. Whether it's 95g/km or 295g/km, until there is a viable option to using a car, little will change.

    Investing in the public transport infrastructure would be one way.

    But then that would mean finding other revenue from the drop in Congestion, Road and Petrol taxes. So perhaps there is little incentive to make drastic changes.

  • rate this

    Comment number 173.

    Cars are getting bigger and heavier because endless legislation ... including 'pedestrian safety'! what will happen of course is that manufacturers like JLR will move out of europe and the UK ... because they can! Finally of course is the increasing scientific proof that the AGW and CO2 thing ... was a scam!

  • rate this

    Comment number 172.

    144 Soreshins: "Yes, there are doubts about global warming..."
    No there aren't. This is another science argument between scientists and everybody else. Like the 'teach the controversy' nonsense in the US debating weather the Earth is 6000 years old or 4.5 billion. There isn't a debate. It's 4.5 billion.
    The climate argument is between scientists and the bloke in the pub. Choose a side to believe.

  • rate this

    Comment number 171.

    If we are the nation of inventors we so often claim to be, why not reduce the limit even more radically? Neither foreign hauliers nor foreign manufacturers would have vehicles suitable for our roads - we would have to make our own. Yes fuel unit cost would rise, but we would have jobs - and less pollution! Great transport solutions exist but are lethal in mixture with our legacy vehicles. Bin 'em!

  • rate this

    Comment number 170.

    Golf 7 1.6 tdi S on 36 months lease (nationwide) ~ 11K. Car has to be built then transported here. Environmental cost: HUGE
    Golf VI 1.6 TDI SE 3yrs/42K (autotrader): 8K. Sale if after 3 yrs privately for at least 4K: cost = 4K. Car already built, have to drive 35 miles to get it. Env. cost: alomst nil!
    Real mpg about the same. Tax £30 vs £0. Can be offset by going to KwikFit instead of dealer.

  • rate this

    Comment number 169.

    I thought they had cured the issue in the 1980's with the Fusion box. It worked on the Delorean :)

  • rate this

    Comment number 168.

    This is not enough and it will take an age to reduce the average cost and usage of fuel unless innovation can produce retro fit devices to to deliver benefits to the millions of 'dirty' legacy vehicles. What is needed is proper pricing of fuel to reduce consumption and therefore emissions rapidly. Over 90% of the fuel is used just to power the vehicle in most short journeys with just the driver.

  • rate this

    Comment number 167.

    @ RispRasser

    We need 4x4 here in Glasgow just to drive along the pot holed, blocked drained, torn surfed roads. Otherwise your light weight, eco friendly car is ruined and you spend recourses keeping it repaired and road legal

  • rate this

    Comment number 166.

    This idea cannot be sold on 'savings for motorists'. Motorists will be charged for fuel, whatever they can afford. The totally inept EU must not be allowed to poke their ignorant noses into any more areas of our domestic lives. We must rid ourselves of the EU, before we are reduced to a land of compliant zombies.

  • rate this

    Comment number 165.


    So motorists will save money ? Really ?

    Let me offer another scenario:

    1) Cars use less fuel

    2) Petrol Companies therefore sell less

    3) Petrol Companies then increase their prices to compensate for loss of revenue

    Also :

    4) The goverment will get less tax from fuel so will have to increase tax elsewhere.

  • rate this

    Comment number 164.

    New cars.. what a great way to reduce green house gases. The majority of greenhouses gases are produced in manufacturing the car. If you wanna be true green your better to buy a 1950 5 litre Chevrolet pick up, Fifty years old true green credentials despite its gas guzzling credentials.

  • rate this

    Comment number 163.

    @132 "The CO2 nonsense is just another scam to make people fork out for new cars"

    Not "make", but merely gives people the excuse they need. Most people need excuses to buy new cars, they want cars, but are too ashamed to just admit it for what it is, blatant consumerism.
    How often these days do you see someone say "I want this car, because I want it".


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