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 582.

    Ah but how do you put a price on the 'holier than thou' benefits of driving a 'hybrid' despite the fact that their construction is just as enviromentally unfriendly, that their batteries represent an environmentally unfriendly disposal issue, and that they are no better than highly efficient contemporary petrol powered vehicles.

  • rate this

    Comment number 581.

    Is Robert Preston, already enforcing the new Cameron/Clegg/Miliband regulatory regime against bloggers & ordinary posters on the internet, this regime is out to stop people commenting on current affairs & local issues. The reason is, I tried to post one comment on Cyprus today, a number of times,without success. & all this after having to re-enter my password, even though I was already signed in.

  • rate this

    Comment number 580.

    i have an idea to help cut co2 emissions, ban all cars with an engine over a certain size, say 1.6 litres. I have a 1.2l and it does the same job as a gas guzzling chelsea tractor. The only difference is that I am not displaying to the world that my middle name is loadsa money. Ford have a 1l engine that delivers the power of a 1.6, time to move technology along not 4 tonnes of metal

  • rate this

    Comment number 579.

    578, To sell them????

  • rate this

    Comment number 578.

    If spare wheels not used then why did new Vauxhall's keep getting them stolen from underneath?

    I spent 20 years in motor trade so know all the issues

    When Vauxhall sell you a new car, but you insist on spare get charged additional cost but they insist on keeping the 'gunk' and compressor even though you paid for it?

    They should be elevated to 'Banker' status

  • rate this

    Comment number 577.

    There's something chilling about a world in which as its natural resources are used up at an ever-increasing rate, its wealthier inhabitants procure ever bigger and more sleek vehicles in which to show themselves off to a gaping public. Chelsea at school start and finish times is but one example

  • rate this

    Comment number 576.

    It looks like cars will become so boring I might give up driving. They will be so light and feeble that a collision with a lorry will always result in serious injury. Bring back the 1950s seven litre American V8s.

  • rate this

    Comment number 575.

    If a driver wishes to buy a more economical car, he/she will do it. There is no need for a bureaucrats to get involved.

    Seems like useless bureaucrats again come with rules pretending that they are somehow "benefit drivers" when in reality is just another attempt to control everything.

  • rate this

    Comment number 574.

    566"Who in the real world,would choose to drive for five miles at 20mph ?"

    A ship's captain. And not just 5 miles but 5000 miles and more. for many ships that's about as fast as they can go. It can get you very far. All over the world in fact. It can get you to work on time on Monday morning....if you leave from home on Saturday afternoon :-)

  • rate this

    Comment number 573.

    570, Shazzad, most people want the extra boot space, not carry around a spare wheel that never gets used. A recent survey showed that most spare tyres were flat, many perished and that a vast majority of people didn't know how to change a wheel, nor could do. you can't get a wheel nut off with a std spanner that has been put on with an air gun. So spare wheels are pretty pointless.

  • rate this

    Comment number 572.

    All well and good, if you can afford the new car in the first place...

  • rate this

    Comment number 571.

    Meh. In just the last few years, cars have got much bigger, heavier and slower and have needed bigger engines. Have you compared the size of a mini vs a "new mini". 4x4s are rife and mostly pointless. People know what they are buying and that it is not environmentally friendly. If you want to save fuel, buy a small, light car. It's simple physics.

  • rate this

    Comment number 570.

    The great usual rip off...

    Don't even get a ridiculous 'space saver' spare wheel anymore...just tube of gunk & a feeble pump that will get you killed trying to fix offside puncture on a busy road (sidewall damages CANNOT be repaired!)

    The reason is to keep the weight & emissions down regardless of safety?

    Ooh..just put the price of petrol up again for a change

  • rate this

    Comment number 569.

    560. Katie
    "Or someone could actually build the idea my brother, his friend, my friend and I came up with on the way home from school last year and build a car with pedals"

    You should go on Dragons Den with that. Have you patented it?

  • rate this

    Comment number 568.

    566, absolutely, instant fail. Also what gear would you be in at 20mph? i also struggle to believe a C4 does 35 mpg at 70 mpg, my 3.0tdi does 55-60 at 70mph?

  • rate this

    Comment number 567.

    Walking is good for you, it improves your health. The thing is the EU will have to tax the extra CO2 you exhale if they can't tax the gas you didn't buy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 566.

    Who in the real world,would choose to drive for five miles at 20mph ? Even a learner would fail their test for driving too slow.

  • rate this

    Comment number 565.

    The preoccupation with emissions is simply staggering! When are people going to start to pay attention to the massive destruction of the rain forests? If we don't reverse this, controlling, or reducing, emissions will be irrelevant!

  • rate this

    Comment number 564.

    to little to late, ever heard of hysterisis.

  • rate this

    Comment number 563.

    All well and good if it applies to cars sold in Europe but manufactured elsewhere. If not, it will damage the EU car industry because imports from the Far East will become even cheaper if they don't have to meet the same standards. I hope the EU knows what it's doing because its track record is pretty poor.


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