Sustainable transport campaigners Transport & Environment (T&E) have warned that a proposed EU target for new car emissions of 95g/km by 2020 will not be enough to ensure Europe maintains its leadership position in fuel saving technologies.

It also claims that European drivers would welcome tighter CO2 standards for cars as it could help them save €500 per year at the pump on average if this proposal is adopted.

However, instead it said that drivers have been “short-changed” as it says that tightening the 2020 target to 80g CO2/km could have saved drivers a further €150 a year.

T&E programme manager Greg Archer said that the biggest problem with the current EU proposal is the “absence of a vision for progress beyond 2020”.

He said: “This is going to erode the leadership the European automotive industry has achieved. Thanks to new rules put in place by the U.S administration, the typical American car by 2025 will include more advanced technologies for fuel efficiency than the average European vehicle.

“There is a real danger that Europe is going to lose its competitive edge in low carbon vehicles if suppliers don’t get the investment certainty needed to develop advanced technologies.”

As a result, T&E has predicted that the market for next generation electric and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles will be stalled by the absence of challenging targets for 2020 and beyond.

Mr Archer added: “There is no doubt that legislation provides a massive boost to innovation, and costs fall over time. The EU should be bolder this time around.”

Carys Matthews

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