Climate Action

Average CO2 emissions from new cars increased in 2019 ahead of stricter 2020 targets

01/06/2021

The average CO2 emissions of new cars and vans registered in the EU, Iceland, Norway and the United Kingdom in 2019 stayed well below the applicable targets, according to final data published by the European Environment Agency. However, average CO2 emissions of new passenger cars in 2019 increased for the third consecutive year, while emissions from new vans remained stable. This left manufacturers with the significant challenge of reducing the average emissions of their fleet in 2020 when stricter targets were introduced.

The final data shows that the average carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, measured in laboratory tests, of new passenger cars registered in the EU, Iceland, Norway and the United Kingdom in 2019 were 122 grams of CO2 per kilometre, which is below the target of 130 g CO2/km that applied until 2019. Average emissions increased by 1.6 g CO2/km compared to 2018.

The average CO2 emissions of new vans registered in the EU, Iceland, Norway and the United Kingdom in 2019 were 158 grams of CO2 per kilometre, which is the same level as in 2018 and below the target of 175 g CO2/km that applied until 2019.

Four small-volume car manufacturers, each responsible for less than 10,000 new cars registered in 2019 and to whom a derogation had previously been granted, as well as one van manufacturer, were found to have exceeded their emission target in 2019. As a result, they will be required to pay excess emission premiums totalling over EUR 13.6 million.

The increase in average CO2 emissions for new passenger cars in the years 2017-2019 was affected by two main market trends:

  • The shift from diesel to petrol cars, which continued in 2019, with the diesel car share decreasing by 5 percentage points compared to 2018.
  • A segment shift towards larger and heavier sport utility vehicles (SUVs) powered by petrol. Between 2018 and 2019, the market share of SUVs increased from 35% up to 38%.

New registrations of battery electric and plug-in hybrid electric cars continued to increase in 2019 but remained low, at 3.5% of new registrations, compared to 2% in 2018.

For vans, registrations of battery electric vehicles nearly doubled from 2018 (0.8 %) to 2019 (1.4 %), but overall remained low.

With the stricter EU fleet-wide targets of 95 g CO2/km for cars and 147 g CO2/km for vans that apply since 2020, manufacturers had to improve the fuel efficiency of their fleet and accelerate the deployment of zero- and low-emission vehicles.

The Commission will soon notify all car and van manufacturers of the provisional calculation of the average specific CO2 emissions of their new vehicles registered in Europe in 2020.

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