The European Commission today proposed a target for 2020 that could save an average driver £400 a year based on today’s fuel prices.
Fuel efficiency gains are matched by reductions in CO2 emissions, and the car industry is expected to meet the current 2015 target almost three years ahead of schedule.
Five years ago North West England Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies won the support of the European Parliament to call for a 95g CO2/km target by 2020.
He welcomes the progress made since then but claims that the method of testing new cars bears little relation to their use in practice.
To gain good results vehicle manufacturers are said routinely to inflate tyres far above recommended levels and remove wing mirrors to reduce air resistance. Computers in the car are specially programmed to pass the test.
Chris Davies described the test procedures as a “scam” that cheated car buyers, providing them with information about new vehicles that exaggerated their performance.
“EU measures have led to a 15% improvement in the fuel efficiency of new cars over the past five years, and a similar reduction in CO2 emissions. That’s good but we can do better.
“The procedures for testing new vehicles must reflect the reality. What car buyers read in the advertising should be what they get in practice.
“Making cars more fuel efficient not only helps bring carbon emissions down but also puts money back in people’s pockets through lower fuel bills. It’s a win-win gain for drivers and for the environment.
“By closing the loopholes and curbing the cheats we can deliver a 10% improvement in fuel efficiency above the target being proposed by the Commission.”
Notes to editors:
In 2011, average new car emissions within the EU were 135.7g/CO2 per km, down from 160.1g in 2006. The current EU target for 2015 is 130g/CO2 per km. The Commission has today come forward with proposals to cut carbon emissions of new cars to 95g/CO2 by 2020.