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 302.

    @272 "Where's my nuclear powered flying car that we were promised in the 50's?"

    It's actually possible to produce a "nuclear" battery, using (safe) waste isotopes from nuclear power stations, one would be capable of running a car for it's entire lifetime.

    Problem =
    A) James Bond (created public fear of all things nuclear)
    B) the oil companies and govt would never allow it

  • rate this

    Comment number 301.

    total rubbish. The government doesnt give a stuff about the environment (and rightly so) it's all about revenue, but to suggest that motorists will save money is a nonsense. buying a new car is a huge rip off anyway, when you can get a better (10 year old) one for a grand.

    Whatever the fuel costs, the government will just adjust/create other taxes, to get their pound of flesh.

  • rate this

    Comment number 300.

    Cheaper to run? The Chancellor will see his chance and a tax hike will put paid to that. Motoring will only ever get more expensive. All else is lies or delusion.

  • Comment number 299.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 298.

    European car manufacturers don't need the European Commission to tell them they need to be competitive - that job is already done by their shareholders. If they are not competitive, they don't make profits.

    It's just more backdoor-greenpeas trying to impose their carbon dioxide theories on the world. That is why the commission is proposing to make car use more expensive.

  • rate this

    Comment number 297.

    How dare they? Europe imposing this will deny us Brits our right to be ripped off.

  • rate this

    Comment number 296.

    If they don't fix the bloody potholes. . . . .we'll all need new cars anyway

  • rate this

    Comment number 295.

    "Temperatures have been virtually static for the last 15 years and CO2 is still rising. What does that say?"

    It says that statistics in the wrong hands can be very dangerous!

  • rate this

    Comment number 294.

    Quite a few "experts" on here today. Amazing what you can with a bit of lunch break & Wikipedia :o)

  • rate this

    Comment number 293.

    If the EU imposes strict new standards on manufacturers, a joint report from Cambridge Econometrics and Ricardo-AEA says that once all EU cars and vans meet the standard, Europe’s vehicle fleet will be cheaper to run each year.
    What rubbish!
    They do not see the unintended consequences of such a measure.
    If central planning worked, why didn't the USSR's various reports lead them to prosperity?

  • rate this

    Comment number 292.

    No government regulations have ever saved people money. Government regulations always cost you more than you benefit. It's just the nature of government regulations.

    The alleged "£3300 savings" are just bait on a hook, and sadly, based upon the comments, it looks as though the public have fallen for it hook line and sinker.

  • rate this

    Comment number 291.


    Naughty. I do believe you are trying to goad me into saying that your aforementioned categories shouldn't need so many benefits.

  • rate this

    Comment number 290.

    My ancient Maestro 2.0L diesel, >200g CO2, 65mpg. My much newer Astra 1.9 diesel, 135g CO2, 55mpg. Fiat 500 Twinair, 89g CO2, 35mpg.

    I should point out that it was GOVERNMENT that started charging VED based on CO2 emissions, so what this story is telling us is that government will impose an unfair tax, then regulate the industry in order to "save" us the money they're charging.

    Robber barons

  • rate this

    Comment number 289.

    "Lets put warming it in perspective"

    You might have noticed that warming or lack of is now called 'climate change'.

    If you can't isolate a mechanism linking warming to man - and in particular to greenhouse gas emissions - then there is NO justification for 'doing' anything about it!

    Warming is modest, has plateaued for the last 15 years, and is a natural cycle i.e. the M.W.P.

  • rate this

    Comment number 288.

    @286 true. Plus they have not factored one very important variable. GREED.

  • rate this

    Comment number 287.

    Last year I bought a 1.6TDCi Focus Titanium for £9000, which costs £30 to tax and averages 55mpg on my daily commute. Am I going to buy a similar-sized car, brand new, for £20,000 just to have this technology? Will it save me £11,000 in fuel over the lifetime of the car?

    Methinks not...

  • rate this

    Comment number 286.

    283. BLACK_PEARL

    I am sorry but that graph is utterly incorrect on so many levels, where are its sources? You cannot just accept every piece of data that is presented to you without challenging its validity.

  • rate this

    Comment number 285.

    127. Petts Wood Dave
    I believe that your comment is somewhat indicative of your own objectivity on the subject of climate change! Presumably you define objective as ‘being in agreement with my views.’
    @Objectivity involves listening to both sides,not asserting that science is settled,not allowing science to be driven by politics.Objectivity is not presuming the content of other people's views

  • rate this

    Comment number 284.

    If consumers are to save that means the government (taxes) and businesses will lose out in the money game and I can't see that happening can you? Therefore to maintain their cash cows they will shove their income sources onto something else. This is just another way of robbing us blind and smiling at us while they do it. Still, if it helps blag public confidence in the government, why not? Sheesh!

  • rate this

    Comment number 283.

    233. GrumpyMungo
    There is no "Global Warming".
    You may challenge whether CO2 is responsible for the warming, but it is simply incorrect to deny that the warming exists.
    Lets put warming it in perspective

    Roman 4x4 chariots or burning witches & heritics in the the medieviel period.


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