Car manufacturers cut vehicle CO2 emissions

Manufacturers of small cars sold in Europe cut their carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 5.6% between 1995 and 1999, and expect even bigger cuts in the future, according to a report by the European Commission.

The first annual report on the effectiveness of the Community strategy to reduce CO2 emissions from passenger cars and improve fuel economy says that despite the cut in emissions, the car industry will have to increase its efforts in order to meet the Commission’s final emissions target. The European strategy aims to achieve an average CO2 emission figure for new passenger cars of 120g CO2/km by 2005, or 2010 at the very latest.

The Community’s CO2 strategy consists of three parts. Firstly, cuts in emissions are being achieved through agreements with the European, Japanese, and Korean car industry associations for cars sold in the European market. The European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) has cut CO2 emissions by 6.0%, the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA), has produced a 4.6% reduction, and the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association (KAMA), a 15% cut.

According to the ACEA, their commitments are extremely ambitious, both technically and economically. “The ACEA Commitment clearly demonstrates the seriousness with which the European industry takes its environmental responsibilities,” says the ACEA’s 1999 CO2 progress report. “Moreover this voluntary approach will allow environmental objectives to be achieved more quickly than through other means, whilst providing the flexibility needed to preserve the rich diversity of product offerings within Europe’s car industry.”

The main features of the agreements include a quantified average CO2 emission cut of 140g CO2/km in new passenger cars sold in the European Union by 2009 for JAMA and KAMA, and by 2008 for ACEA. The manufacturers are committed to achieving their targets predominantly through technological developments, such as High Speed Direct Injection Diesel Engines, Mini Cars, and Dual Fuelled Vehicles.

“This shows that industry is increasingly willing and ready to play an active part in protecting the environment and that tangible and rapid results can be promoted through voluntary agreements with stakeholders,” said Environment Commissioner, Margot Wallstrom. “The new report will serve to strengthen our common determination to fight traffic-related air pollution through the best environmental technology available.”

The second part of the Community’s CO2 strategy consists of fuel-economy labelling of new passenger cars. This aims at ensuring that information relating to fuel economy and CO2 emissions is made available to customers to enable them to make an informed choice.

The final component of the strategy is the promotion of car fuel efficiency by fiscal means.

ACEA is comprised of BMW AG, DaimlerChrysler AG, Fiat S.p.A., Ford of Europe Inc., General Motors Europe AG, Dr. Ing. H.c.F Porche Ag, PSA Peugeot Citroen, Renault SA, Volkswagen AG, and AB Volvo. JAMA comprises Daihatsu, Fuji Heavy Industries (Subaru), Honda, Isuzu, Mazda, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Suzuki, and Toyota. KAMA is made up of Daewoo Motor Co. Ltd., Hyundai Motor Company, and the Kia Motors Corporation.

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