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

Related Stories

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.

Follow Roger on Twitter


More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 242.

    "That is the definition of increased fuel efficiency!"

    CO2 emissions are not measured as a factor of distance, but of gas volume which is an entirely different thing. Typical method of making the headline figure is to capture the carbon at low speeds (when gas output is low) and burn it off at higher speeds (when gas output is high) thus reducing mean CO2 per unit volume

  • rate this

    Comment number 241.


    You are absolutely right but if legislation forces manufacturers to keep making their vehicles more fuel efficient (so more complicated) and they can't put their prices up in a competetive market, they will make their profits later in the vehicle's life.

    Your diesel DMF example - deep in the heart of the engine so very expensive to replace, so designed to just outlast the warranty period.

  • rate this

    Comment number 240.

    My little roadster is 15 years old this year. No aircon, airbags, power steering or ABS. Nothing much to go wrong and it doesn't. I achieve fuel economy by using a light right foot. It may annoy others when I cruise up the motorway at 60mph, but guess what, when you are tailgating me, I'm saving you money too.

  • rate this

    Comment number 239.

    Since 2008, petrol sales have dropped more than 10%. This hasn't been achieved by replacing old cars by supposedly more efficient ones, but by people changing their habits, driven by the rise in petrol prices. Reducing speed limit to 55mph on A road and increasing the "cost" of speeding would have a more positive effect on the environment than replacing old cars with new ones which cost the env.

  • rate this

    Comment number 238.

    Why is it when everyone tells motorists they are going to save them money it always costs me more.

  • rate this

    Comment number 237.

    @233. GrumpyMungo

    Please explain the melting of the ice caps and glaciers and how that fact fits in with your theory?

  • rate this

    Comment number 236.

    @212 "It's high time new cars were speed-limited"

    Speed does not equate to fuel usage, that's what gears are for.
    My car will happily do 70 down the motorway in 5th, hitting 45+mpg.

    Reduce that to 40 and suddenly i'm in between gears, 3rd is too low, 4th is too high and im barely seeing 30mpg.

    If we put a stop to the 42mph drivers club, we'd all save fuel!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 235.

    Problems arise in economies when you tax the wrong things - things other than income & gains - & when Govts get greedy & tax too much. It creates distortions. Often at inconvenient moments.

    The EU wide car industry is struggling, EUGovt thinks why not do something to help 'Let's legislate!'

    It's too late. Get the tax off fuel and onto income & gains, that is what will save the car industry.

  • rate this

    Comment number 234.

    I have to admit I don't think I would consider buying a new car unless the technolpogy is significantly different. I bought new in 06, small diesel. 2 EGR valves, one DMF, a set of injectors and numerous filters later I'm the better part of 6k poorer. Newer models seem even more plagued with problems as they can only handle motorway driving before gunking up.

  • Comment number 233.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 232.

    Sounds to me like new EU example of craziness and that `Crats now have their eyes on the freedom of citizens.
    When will politicians begin to learn to curb their urge to control all aspects of the lives of citizens?
    The "Green Revolution" has so far cost citizen £Billions,and with nothing but spurious "proof" that "green" measures are anything more than another wheeze by crats to extract more tax!

  • rate this

    Comment number 231.

    'Stop/Start' systems increases battery failure - from frustrating experience I know this very well. An engineer told me that the system has less than 70% functionality. So where is the CO2 saving?

  • rate this

    Comment number 230.

    222. farkyss

    Lower CO2 do not make more efficient cars

    What?! Unless these cars are using a non-carbon based fuel, the fact that the car is producing less CO2 per mile tells you immediately that the car is using less fuel per mile.

    That is the definition of increased fuel efficiency!

  • rate this

    Comment number 229.

    "...join the real world, any reduction in usage increases the price of the product."

    In my real world, if people aren't buying your product you don't persuade them to buy it by making it more expensive!
    Tax revenues, of course, are a different matter entirely. :-(

  • rate this

    Comment number 228.

    Car drivers 'will save cash thanks to CO2 rules'??
    No they will not.
    Governments need the tax income from fuel, so if volumes fall taxation will be increased to compensate

  • rate this

    Comment number 227.

    @201. landscape
    Agreed, electric are a total and utter waste of money and resource. No range at anything like an acceptable cost. Lifetime measured in months because of batteries.
    Steam, hydrogen, all sorts of other better possibilities (fireless steam is well understood and easy to make).

  • rate this

    Comment number 226.

    But that extra cost would be offset in less than 3 years through fuel savings of around £350 per year"

    How the hell will it save fuel when both the Gov't and the fuel companies want to protect their tax & profit?We were told only last week that the UK will require 400,000 new school places by 2018 due to rapid population growth -how do they expect to pay for that if fuel tax revenues drop?

  • rate this

    Comment number 225.

    I'd rather see the limit for unladen weight reduced on minor roads in built-up areas. It's ridiculous that so many short-range journeys for one person are made in vehicles built for 5 to travel internationally.

  • rate this

    Comment number 224.

    I bought a hybrid 5 years ago, with an official 105 g/km CO2 emissions. It replaced a 2 l 4-WD SUV, actually built on the same chassis, same dimensions except height. Strangely, the hybrid is 120 kg heavier than the SUV! Performances are similar except petrol consumption in l/100 km averaging 4.5-5.5 (hyb) and 10-12.5 (SUV). SUV emitted ~220 g/km. Wallet is healthier.

  • rate this

    Comment number 223.

    As so much energy is used in vehicle manufacture, a more meaningful approach to reducing overall emmissions, would be to reward owners to keep their vehicles as long as possible on the road by reducing road tax each year of ownership.

    209.Sue Doughcoup
    Fine... but where would the Govt then find all the taxes from to support all those single mums & wefare claiments.


Page 18 of 30


More Science & Environment stories



BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.