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 402.

    379. BLACK_PEARL
    Do some more reading opinions are changing all the time.
    Only 4% on C02 is apparently...
    I think I've done a bit more reading than you. And my 'beliefs' are based on years working in planetary science and glaciology. Maybe you should read what I have published on polar ice loss. And you are confusing CO2 emissions with CO2 balance. (Cherry picking facts again?)

  • rate this

    Comment number 401.

    I've got a 99g/kg car.

    It's got 6 gears to bother with, narrow power range, irritating start-stop which I always disable and smaller engine than my last car.

    However, they've thrown away all the economy savings with a drag of 0.3 as against 0.19 for my old car (which I loved), just because some "designer" thought the new body shape "looked good"

  • rate this

    Comment number 400.

    395The price of fuel will go up in Europe as world demand increases because Europe imports from the world market.It will go down in the US because of energy independence, we have all we'll ever need.Europe already pays 2X to 3X what Americans pay.That's as it should be.America is a vast, mobile, very energy intense society.Cheap energy is not an option, its a necessity.We have a right to it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 399.


    If only.....

    For a long time, I thought a private no. plate tax was fair as people daft enough to buy these stupid things deserve anything they get.
    Same for the monkey music screaming out of car windows.

  • rate this

    Comment number 398.

    @341. sieuarlu
    You have very little idea of how a car works, reducing speed does not actually improve efficiency. You can be travelling at 30 mph and get the same fuel efficicency that you will at 70 mph. It all depends on how the gears are set up in your car. Reducing the speed limit to 40 kph will have a major impact on economics and not much effect of CO2 emissions,

  • rate this

    Comment number 397.

    22 Sherrec
    Totally agree. Don't laugh, but I've been looking around the internet to find information on steam-driven cars. They were marketed up until the 1940's. I'm sure with a bit of modern technology somebody could come up with a viable offer. Jeremy Clarkson wouldn't like it of course, neither would the oil companies...

  • rate this

    Comment number 396.

    We all know that in the UK, if we want to save money, the companies that we're saving money from will only put up their prices..//..Recently, the congestion charge cited that 'the eco friendly cars were considered not friendly enough... and were no longer exempt!'
    Whatever we do, we will ALWAYS lose out in the end!
    Time to change our politicians & bureaucrats?

  • rate this

    Comment number 395.

    So they think that using less fuel, as a result of these changes, will save motorists (those that can afford new cars) money, to the tune of about £3k PA.

    Do these people live in cloud cuckoo land?

    The fuel companies are not going to sit by and watch whilst profits diminish as a result of lower sales.

    They will ramp the price up - thus hurting the rest of us who can't afford new cars.

  • rate this

    Comment number 394.

    Troll science Part 2.

    Every action has an opposite and equal reaction.

    1) Place a torch or other light emitting device on back of your car

    2) link up a generator to the free spinning wheels then link generator to light emitting device

    Travel at speed of light due to force of light emitted by device and produce unlimited free energy with the wheels.

    Problem physics? *troll face*

  • rate this

    Comment number 393.

    89 Dinoburger - Not only are you absolutely right, but the government wants to replace the chronically overloaded A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon with a TOLL ROAD...
    So - instead of queueing to get past the daily accidents, traffic will be queueing at the toll booths...

  • rate this

    Comment number 392.

    We've just swapped both of our cars in for the new Ford Ecoboost Fiesta's which only produce 99g/km but we haven't really noticed any significant fuel savings yet (avg 4mpg more). Where we have noticed a huge drop is in car tax, we've gone from £250/year down to £0. But I bet it won't last as if everyone drives these cars the gov't will just change the size of the goal's again.

  • rate this

    Comment number 391.

    We already have cars that switch off at traffic lights. They run off batteries or fuel cells. How much longer can this industry hold out against this technology and get back to their roots?!

  • rate this

    Comment number 390.

    As cars become more fuel economic there is one very influential group that stand to loose out...oil/petrol companies.

    It is a fact that they simply wont stand by and see their profits take a dip as people refill their cars less and less. They will certainly make sure that worldwide fuel prices increase accordingly.

    As long as govts allow this to happen the motorist will always loose out.

  • rate this

    Comment number 389.

    @375. DuaneK.
    To create lift, the energy has to come from somewhere. It is not free. That energy comes from the engine. Don't confuse weight with mass. A 1kg mass, weighs 1kg on earth, 0.2kg on the moon and 0kg in space. But it still takes the same amount of force to move it with the same acceleration.

    Lift however is a function of drag, as is the downward force.

    With cars, down good up is bad.

  • rate this

    Comment number 388.

    To slow the rate of global climate change Europe needs to reduce CO2 emissions.It's increasing in China rapidly as coal fired power plants come on line and many more people can afford to buy cars. Same will happen in Brazil, India, Africa, other places.The US reduced its carbon footprint but that could change as the economy recovers and the US becomes energy independent.US is a very mobile society

  • rate this

    Comment number 387.

    Ref 302. Nuclear alternative comment.
    The Mars Curiosity Rover is powered by a small Nuclear engine, which will keep it going almost indefinitely. FACT!
    Why are Green Campaigners not chaining themselves to railings in support of this NON C02 advanced technology??
    Is it that they are all ex Ban the Bomb trolls??

  • rate this

    Comment number 386.

    We will use less petrol (per person) but we will spend even more, as less petrol is used the cost will simply be raised in accordance. The price has already gone up 100% in the last ten years.

  • rate this

    Comment number 385.

    374 LancashireLass - Catalytic convertors have massively improved the quality of air in cities. Surely there's not a conspiracy about them too?

    369 firemensaction - No, that's terrible logic. Plants also need water, so try overwatering your plant and see if it produces more oxygen.
    We're also still cutting down trees, which doesn't help.

  • rate this

    Comment number 384.

    379: Opinions are not changing. The CO2 rise which this article addresses is 100% due to human emissions. 200% even, given that the atmosphere is uptaking about half our emissions and the oceans the rest.

  • rate this

    Comment number 383.

    Does anyone seriously believe that oil companies will not simply put up the price of fuel to compensate for the reduced use as they already do with diesel (Which is cheaper to produce, more efficient but 7p a litre more expensive to buy)?
    Drivers will simply pay the increased cost of the vehicle PLUS the fuel and save nothing!


Page 10 of 30


More Science & Environment stories



Copyright © 2015 BBC. 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.