Europe hits 2015 vehicle emission target ahead of schedule
New cars sold in 2014 have hit the carbon emissions target for 2015 two years early, emitting a full 7 grammes of carbon dioxide per kilometre (CO2/km) less than the 130g target.
According to provisional data from the European Environment Agency (EEA), new cars sold in 2014 emit on average 2.6% less CO2 than those sold in 2013, with emissions decreasing by 12% (17g CO2/km) since monitoring began in 2010.
Average emissions levels in 2014 were below 130g CO2/km in 17 of the 28 Member States. Significantly more efficient models were bought in the pre-2004 EU Member States compared to the newer EU Member States.
However, manufacturers will have to decrease emissions further to meet the target of 95g CO2/km by 2021.
The gap between petrol and diesel fuel efficiency is closing, being one seventh of the gap it was in 2000 at below 3g Co2/km.
A total of 12.5 million new cars were registered in 2014, the first overall increase since 2007, with registrations up in all but three member states. Diesel vehicles remain the most sold vehicles in Europe, constituting 53% of sales.
Electric vehicle sales were around 38,000 in 2014, up by 57% compared to 2013. However, electric vehicles continue to constitute only a very small fraction of new registrations (0.3%).
Research from the UK Government's Go Ultra Low campaign has shown that £2.6bn worth of potential fuel savings are being missed out on by fleet managers not opting for an ultra-low emission van (ULEV).
Nearly half of the 3.7 million vans on UK roads could take advantage of the £1,459 per vehicle annual saving on the cost of fuel when compared to diesel. Pure electric small and medium-sized vans are perfectly suited to back-to-base and short-haul trips, allowing fleet managers to significantly reduce annual fleet management costs.
ULEV are also exempt from road tax and the London congestion charge, lowering costs even further.
The Government offers a grant of up to £8,000 towards the purchase price and 100% of the vehicle's value applicable to write off as a capital allowance.
"Ultra-low emission commercial vehicles make so much sense for operators large and small, particularly when you consider the massive fuel savings on offer and the opportunity to write-off the cost of the vehicle," head of the Go Ultra Low campaign Hetal Shah said: "Add to the mix lower maintenance fees and tax rates, plus the potential for reduced whole-life running costs, and they really do make a compelling option."
Sustainable transport at Sustainability Live 2015
The evolution of transport technology will be discussed in detail at Sustainability Live 2015 in April, with a session at the Energy Efficiency theatre focusing on biofuels, hydrogen and electrification and how this roadmap can be used to time fleet upgrades and changes.
The seminar will also use a series of case studies to explore both technologies, employees engagement, alternative transport modes and fleet optimisation.