Climate Action

Average CO2 emissions from new cars and vans registered in Europe increased in 2018, requiring significant emission reductions to meet the 2020 targets

03/06/2020

The average CO2 emissions of new light-duty vehicles registered in the EU and Iceland in 2018 stayed well below the applicable targets, according to final data published by the European Environment Agency. However, average CO2 emissions of both new passenger cars and new vans increased compared to 2017. Manufacturers will have to significantly reduce emissions of their fleet to meet the stricter targets that apply from this year on.

The final data shows that the average carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, measured in laboratory tests, of new passenger cars registered in the EU and Iceland in 2018 were 120.8 grams of CO2 per kilometre, 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.

The average CO2 emissions of new vans sold in the EU and Iceland in 2018 was 157.9 grams per kilometre, which is below the target of 175 g CO2/km that applied until 2019. For the first time, average emissions of vans increased year-to-year. They were almost 2 g CO2/km higher in 2018 than in 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:

  • The shift away from diesel to petrol cars continued in 2018, with the diesel car share decreasing by 9 percentage points. In 2018, 60% of the new fleet consisted of petrol cars while diesel cars represented 36%.
  • At the same time, a segment shift took place towards larger and heavier sport utility vehicles (SUVs) powered by petrol. Between 2017 and 2018, the market share of SUVs increased from 29% up to 35%.

New registrations of zero- and low- emission cars increased in 2018 but represented only around 2% of new car registrations, compared to 1.5% in 2017. Some 150 000 battery electric vehicles (BEV) and 150 000 plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) were registered, which is around 50 % and 24% more than in 2017 respectively.

The increase in average CO2 emissions of new vans in 2018 compared to 2017 was affected by a combination of different factors, including an increase of the average vehicle mass (+1%), of the average engine capacity (+1%) and of vehicle size (average wheelbase +1.4%). Diesel vehicles continue to make up the vast majority of the new vans fleet (94.7%), but the share of petrol vans has increased by 1.2%. In addition, the share of zero- and low-emission vans in 2018 remained at the same level as in 2017 (1.7 %).

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