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Manufacturers must reduce CO2 emissions of cars to meet stricter targets

The average CO2 emissions of both new passenger cars and new vans increased compared to 2017, according to final data published by the European Environment Agency.

Cars are responsible for around 12 per cent of total EU emissions of CO2, the main greenhouse gas. Therefore, manufacturers will have to significantly reduce emissions of their fleet to meet the stricter targets that apply from this year on.

On a positive note, the average CO2 emissions of new light-duty vehicles registered in the European Union and Iceland in 2018 stayed well below the applicable targets.

The average carbon dioxide emissions of new passenger cars were 120.8 grams of CO2 per kilometre (g CO2/km), which is below the target of 130 g CO2/km that applied until 2019. However, average emissions increased by over 2 g CO2/km compared to 2017.

With the stricter EU fleet-wide targets of 95 g CO2/km for cars and 147 g CO2/km for vans entering into effect from this year, manufacturers will have to improve the fuel efficiency of their fleet and accelerate the deployment of zero- and low-emission vehicles. In addition, this should be accompanied by the necessary investments in recharging infrastructure and other incentive schemes in Member States.

The increase in average CO2 emissions for new passenger cars between 2017 and 2018 was affected by two main market trends. First of all the shift away from diesel to petrol cars that continued throughout 2018, with the diesel car share decreasing by 9 percentage points. In fact, in 2018, 60 per cent of the new fleet consisted of petrol cars while diesel cars represented only 36 per cent. Secondly, a segment shift took place towards larger and heavier sport utility vehicles (SUVs) powered by petrol, whose market share increased from 29 per cent up to 35 per cent.

New registrations of zero- and low- emission cars increased in 2018 but represented only around two per cent of new car registrations.

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