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Europe to Enforce Strict CO2 Rules for Cars

  • February 11th, 2007
  • Posted by 7thmin

cars-ld-resize.jpgThe European Union has announced plans for legislation to make car and van manufacturers reduce carbon dioxide emissions from their products, bringing strong objections from the motor industry.

The European Commission says that a voluntary scheme to get car emissions down by a quarter, in the next five years – setting a standard of 120 grams of CO2 per kilometer – was failing.

It will ask the European member governments to pass a binding new law to ensure that car design accounts for most of the targeted reductions in pollution; saying the rest can be obtained from the use of biofuels, like ethanol or biodiesel, and better management of traffic.

A bout of political warfare has opened after the announcement, the auto industry now arguing that small cars especially will become too dear, forcing job losses.

After lobbying intensively against the change, industry organisations object that costs will to go up, manufacturers will have to cut jobs, and they may need to move production to other places, like Russia.

The European Commission Vice President, Gunter Verheugen, said the change would be balanced, sharing-out the burden.

There had been wide consultation with stakeholders and new policy would concentrate on producing affordable cars that competed very strongly on quality, safety and the good environmental standard.

He said large European luxury cars should not be affected too much, but there would be pressure on the manufacture of smaller cars.

“We have to be frank; we have to tell the truth..

“You cannot have the cleanest cars worldwide and the cheapest cars at the same time,” he said

At a Brussels media conference (7.2.07), he told EU Australia car makers would have to deliver a clean and safe product at affordable prices, and deal with new competition from China and other outside producers.

He admitted that outside producers would raid the European market.

“You must be aware that an attack from China and other emerging countries is coming; it’s inevitable,” the Commissioner said.

The twenty-seven member countries of the European Union are being asked to approve the new law within one year.

Cars produce twelve-percent of carbon dioxide emissions in Europe; making vehicles, in the world’s largest car industry, provides twelve million jobs.


“Commission plans legislative framework to ensure the EU meeting its target for cutting CO2 emissions from cars”; European Commission, Brussels; 7.2.07, IP/07/155

“New Commission Strategy for long-term viability of the European car industry”, EC Brussels, 7.2.07, IP/07/157

“The EU’s automotive sector: new challenges, responsibilities and opportunities”, EC Brussels, 7.2.07, MEMO/07/147