Watered down car deal

Fuel-efficient cars one year further away. Photo: Flickr.com/Franksteiner/CC BY

A one-year delay in implementation and an extension of super credits was the result when member states and the European Parliament renegotiated a CO2 deal for cars.

It was in June that Germany demanded to re-open the already finalised deal on how the 95 g CO2/km target for cars should be achieved. Germany then persuaded the current Lithuanian presidency to take this item off the agenda until after the German federal elections in September. It was not until the end of November that member states and representatives of the European Parliament managed to settle on a new agreement with some “additional limited flexibility”, as the Lithuanian presidency chose to phrase it.

In the original deal all cars had to comply with the 95-gram target by 2020, but in the new one there will be a phase-in period, so that by 2020 just 95 per cent of the car-sales will be included, and all new sales will not be covered until 2021.

In addition, the car industry will be able to use a 7.5 g CO2/km super credit for sales of electric cars between 2020 and 2022. That is an increase of 5g compared to the original deal this summer.  The super-credit system also implies that there will be no full implementation of the 95 g CO2/km target until 2023.

“We accepted a very limited phase-in of one year only, combined with super credits. We regret that some member states in the Council have tried to delay confirmation of a deal between the institutions. This could have dragged the procedure out until the next Parliament, while the automotive sector needs long-term certainty for its investments,” said Environment Committee chair Matthias Groote (S&D, DE).  

The watering down of the June agreement will lead to additional fuel consumption that will cause approximately 50 million tonnes of extra CO2 emissions, according to Transport and Environment (T&E).

Though they are not happy about the deal, Greg Archer from T&E feels that it is time to move on: “Fuel economy standards are Europe’s single most effective policy to drive down fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. The outcome of this law could have been so much better, but at least we can start talking about the future. Europe should stay ahead in the race for efficient vehicles, so now we need an ambitious target for 2025, and fuel efficiency standards for trucks too”.

Kajsa Lindqvist

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