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 262.

    Time to give up, you can never 'educate' the cheerleading crazies on here who are serially 'duped' by the EU pushing an agenda that leads to restrictions on what they are allowed to own, and what they are allowed to do.

    If you honestly believe that these changes will save Joe Public money, then I have a bridge to sell you.

  • rate this

    Comment number 261.

    Wow, thanks EU!

    But wait...

    how are the manufacturers suddenly going to come up with more energy efficient cars free of charge?

    what about the freedom of choice to buy a car that uses more energy?

    what about all those new taxes for driving european governments plan to introduce such as pay per mile?

  • rate this

    Comment number 260.

    The problem with all alternative fueled (electricity, hydrogen etc) cars is "from where does that fuel ultimately come?" If it relies on an energy input to make the fuel and this comes from you local power station, then you've won nothing, just moved the point of CO2 generation down the road. In fact the laws of thermodynamics tell us that every time you convert energy you lose.

  • rate this

    Comment number 259.

    I think the whole idea of the gvts of the EU is to rob us all blind. . . . . So, what they will do, is force manufacturers to build eco friendly cars (good), then they will make the MOT consist of very stringent rules making cars over the age of say. . . 5, illegal because of immissions, forcing us all to buy new and highly taxed cars because they are now so environmentally friendly! Money Spinner

  • rate this

    Comment number 258.

    Another measure to increase Crats and impose nonsense solution!
    I never buy a new car.Too expensive.
    I run an old diesel car,cheap to run,has never broken down and is comfortable.
    Does approx 60 mpg too.
    The threat in what I read into the article is that EUCRATS planning to "discourage" the use of diesel cars? more "undemocracy"?
    More bureacrat "direction" al la USSR??

  • rate this

    Comment number 257.

    234. SentinelRed
    "2 EGR valves, one DMF, a set of injectors and numerous filters later I'm the better part of 6k poorer."

    ...Or buy a small turbo petrol car that will perform as well as a turbo diesel, with close enough mpgs, would cost you less to buy (new or used) and won't be plagued by EGR, DPF and other problems. Think 1.2 TSI vs1.6TDI or 1.0T Ecoboost vs 1.6TDCI or...etc

  • rate this

    Comment number 256.

    @250 afn
    While I agree with that in general, it may not apply similarly from model to model.

    My old 1.8 Mondeo was more economical at a steady 68-70mph than at 56-58mph. My replacement 1.6 Focus IS more econmical at 56-60mph than at 68-70mph & very much more so than at 75-77mph.

  • rate this

    Comment number 255.

    While not wanting to knock the benefits of electric cars, people do realise how electricity is produced don't they? It's not all "clean" wind energy.

    What you need until a clean fuel comes along is lighter cars, turbo engines, efficient tyres and active suspension that raises the ground clearance while on motorways which will produce lift making the vehicle lighter.

  • rate this

    Comment number 254.

    I wonder how the likes Rolls-Royce and Ferrari etc, are going to be able to continue to make their cars with such a low CO2 level? Sounds like we will all be driving around in Japanese micro cars in the future. This move will not save a single person a penny on fuel. If the car uses less fuel, the oil companies will put up the price to offset the loss of profits. We all get screwed again.

  • rate this

    Comment number 253.

    A certain supermarket has already abandoned its use of lorry delivery to the Scottish highlands,and now sends containers by train instead due to fuel costs. There are drastic changes coming for the motorist. Probably a good thing,since most of us don't need cars,even if we squeal that we do.

  • rate this

    Comment number 252.

    If there's the slightest risk of motorists saving cash, prices of cars, road tax, fuel tax etc. will rise to consume all of the saving, (just as property prices rise to eat up any benefit buyers might have seen from lower interest rates).

    The System always keeps vast numbers right on the razor's edge.

  • rate this

    Comment number 251.

    233. GrumpyMungo

    There is no "Global Warming".
    Either you simply lack ability to disseminate data, or you joking. China is leading in CO2 reduction, and yet they have not seen "green tax" increases over the last decade. You may challenge whether CO2 is responsible for the warming, but it is simply incorrect to deny that the warming exists.

  • rate this

    Comment number 250.

    @226. JPublic
    The maths behind this are as dubious as the maths behind wind turbines and solar panels. Not just in the supposed CO2 savings (which always exclude the cost of manufacture) but in the supposed efficiency savings. You can save far more merely by slowing your driving down. My car at 50 is more than 4 times as economical as it is flat out, and nearly twice as at 80.

  • rate this

    Comment number 249.

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

    My Jag's already speed-limited, it's programmed to not go faster than 155mph. ;-)
    And the trees love the CO2 it gives them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 248.

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

    What are the Gov't going to do to make up for the lost tax revenue from motoring - tax our bank accounts??

    Mass immigration/population growth has forced them to tax us more to pay for it with schools/housing/infrastructure etc so the public will never be saved from growing taxation

  • rate this

    Comment number 247.

    It's great that manufacturers can develop a car that can achieve 80+mpg, but what difference will it make in (40?) years when we have no petrol or diesel to run them on?

    If it weren't for the greedy oil companies buying up all the alternative technology we'd have developed a sensible hydrogen-based solution by now. The most sustainable and practical set-up and greenies will love it too!

  • rate this

    Comment number 246.

    33. HooHum
    No we won't.
    The petrol companies will put up the price to maintain profits
    When 75% of the price of petrol is tax who's REALLY making the big profits? (hint... not the oil company)

  • rate this

    Comment number 245.

    I'm old enough to remember when diesel was considerably cheaper than petrol because it was only used by vans and trucks. Once it became popular, and the oil companies sold relatively less petrol, it became more expensive. I don't know if this may also have been due to a tax change.
    But if you think the motorist will benefit from this move, dream on.

  • rate this

    Comment number 244.

    @213 'What do you need them for when there is a perfectly good bus service?'
    Not everywhere has a good bus service though.
    So tell me how buses are efficient.
    Most of the day, they run around either empty or half doz. people at most, most of the time with 5 or 6 litre engines 5mpg ?

    Hey Grumpy you can still get burned at the stake for those views

  • rate this

    Comment number 243.

    I gave up my car, and just hire one occasionally. I'm saving 4,000 GBP after tax.

    Which means I don't have to work a five day week.

    Which means I have more time to shop around for good deals.

    Which means even more savings.

    And I am healthier and far less stressed.

    Maybe I'll even live longer.

    Perhaps we should all consider giving up our cars.

    My goodness - how amazing that would be!


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