Saturday, October 28, 2006

Car Manufacturers and the Environment.

The European Federation for Transport and Environment (T&E), Europe's principal environmental organization campaigning specifically on transport has released a report on the auto industry with regard to their commitment to reduce the average CO2 emissions of new cars they sell.
In 1998 the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) committed to the European Union to reduce the average CO2 emissions of new cars sold in the (then) 15 EU Member States to140 g/km by 2008, down from 186 g/km in 1995. Similar agreements were signed by the Japanese and Korean manufacturers’ associations the following year (1999). The target year for the JAMA and KAMA associations is 2009.

The results are staggering: ¾ of the major car brands sold in Europe last year have failed to improve fuel efficiency at the rate needed to meet a key EU climate target.

BUT:

  • Fiat, Citroen, Renault, Ford and Peugeot are the best performers. All five are on track to meet or exceed the target by 2008.
  • Nissan [which is, interestingly, partly owned by Renault] is the worst performer in Europe followed by Suzuki, Mazda, Audi, Volvo, BMW and Volkswagen.

So in other words, the manufacturers that do best are those that focus on smaller cars. That’s no surprise: big cars pollute more! (see details below)

“Renault is on track while Volkswagen is way off even though Renault started with higher emissions in 1997. Clearly the target is achievable, but as long as seventy-five percent of carmakers go unpunished for their failure, we will never make the necessary progress.
The report then suggested that Europe must forget about “voluntary targets” and move to “legally binding measures”.

“Individual carmakers must be held responsible and punished if they fail.”

I agree of course but I also think some incentives should be used at the other end of the chain. What I mean by “incentive” is actually tax-breaks for smaller less polluting cars and higher taxes on SUVs and 4x4s. People, not just car manufacturers must be held responsible!

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