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Sources of Greenhouse Gases Outside the EU ETS

Emissions of carbon dioxide from cars

Cars and other vehicles, except airplanes, are not covered by the EU ETS but contribute significantly to the EU’s emissions of carbon dioxide. The Commission first adopted a Community Strategy to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from cars in 1995 which envisioned, inter alia, voluntary commitments from the car industry.65 In 1998 the European Automobile Manufacturers Association adopted a commitment to reduce average emissions from new cars sold to 140g CO2/km by 2008. In 1999 the Japanese and Korean Automobile Manufacturers Associations made a similar commitment. However, in 2007 the Commission concluded that while progress had been made towards that target, the Community objective of average emissions from the new car fleet of 120g CO2/km would not be met by 2012 in the absence of additional measures. As a reaction to this, Regulation (EC) No 443/2009 on emission performance standards for new passenger cars was eventually adopted amid heavy lobbying. 66 The Regulation, based on the predecessor to Article 192 TFEU, adopts an integrated approach which means that the Regulation itself sets the average carbon dioxide emissions for new passenger cars at 130g CO2/km by 2015 whereas additional measures corresponding to a reduction of 10g CO2/km are also to be adopted, including promotion of an increased use of sustainable biofuels. From 2020 onwards the overall target will be 95g CO2/km as average emissions for the new car fleet. (Art 1.)

The 2015 and 2020 targets represent reductions of 18 per cent and 40 per cent respectively, compared with the 2007 fleet average of 158.7g/km.

Specific emissions targets to be met by each manufacturer of passenger cars are set according to the formulae in Annex I. New passenger cars with specific emissions of carbon dioxide of less than 50g CO2/km can earn the manufacturer specific ‘super credits’ which may compensate for higher emissions by other cars (Art 5). Since it is the fleet average that is regulated, manufacturers are able to make vehicles with emissions above the limit value provided these are balanced by vehicles below it. Manufacturers may also form a pool in order to meet their targets. (Art 8.)

Any manufacturer whose average specific emissions exceed its specific emissions target will have to pay an excess emissions premium (Art 9). Similar rules apply to vans.[1] [2] [3]

  • [1] Regulation (EU) No 510/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council setting emissionperformance standards for new light commercial vehicles as part of the Union’s integrated approach toreduce CO2 emissions from light-duty vehicles [2011] OJ L 145/1.
  • [2] Regulation (EC) No 842/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council on certainfluorinated greenhouse gases [2006] OJ L 161/1.
  • [3] Regulation (EU) No 517/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council on fluorinated greenhouse gases and repealing Regulation (EC) No 842/2006 [2014] OJ L 150/195.
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