Climate Action

Average CO2 emissions from new light-duty vehicles registered in Europe increased in 2019, requiring significant emission reductions to meet the 2020 targets


The average CO2 emissions of new light-duty vehicles registered in the EU28, Iceland and Norway in 2019 stayed well below the applicable targets, according to provisional data published by the European Environment Agency. However, average CO2 emissions of both new passenger cars and new vans increased compared to 2018. Manufacturers will have to significantly reduce emissions of their fleet to meet the stricter targets that apply from this year on.

The provisional data shows that the average carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, measured in laboratory tests, of new passenger cars registered in 2019 in the EU28, Iceland and – for the first year – in Norway were 122.4 grams of CO2 per kilometre (g CO2/km), which is below the target of 130 g CO2/km that applied until 2019. However, average emissions increased for the third consecutive year, and were 1.6 g CO2/km higher than in 2018.

The average CO2 emissions of new vans sold in the EU28, Iceland and Norway in 2019 were 158.4 grams per km, which is below the target of 175 g CO2/km that applied until 2019. For the second consecutive year, average emissions of new vans increased year-to-year. They were 0.5 g CO2/km higher in 2019 than in 2018.

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 incentive schemes in Member States and the necessary investments in recharging infrastructure.

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

  • The shift away from diesel to petrol cars continued in 2019, with the diesel car share decreasing by 5 percentage points. As was the case in 2017 and 2018, far more petrol cars (almost 63% of the new fleet) were sold than diesel ones (32%).
  • At the same time, a segment shift continues towards sport utility vehicles (SUVs). The market share of SUVs increased from 25% in 2017 up to 38% in 2019.

As diesel cars are generally more fuel-efficient than petrol cars of comparable size and smaller cars are more fuel-efficient than larger ones, these market trends negatively affected the average CO2 emissions of the fleet.

New registrations of zero- and low-emission cars increased in 2019 to around 3.5% of new car registrations, compared to 2% in 2018. Some 340 000 battery electric vehicles (BEV) and 193 000 plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) were registered, which is 130% and 32% more than in 2018 respectively. However, a large part of this increase is due to the fact that vehicle registrations in Norway were taken into account for the first time in 2019. Norway accounted for 56 % of the combined registrations of PHEV and BEV cars.

The increase in average CO2 emissions of new vans in 2019 compared to 2018 was affected by a combination of different factors, including an increase of the average vehicle mass (+0.8%) and a limited increase of the share of electric vans (BEV and PHEV) from 0.8% in 2018 to 1.3% in 2019. Diesel vehicles continue to make up the vast majority of the new vans fleet (94%) while the share of petrol vans (3.4%) slightly decreased as compared to 2018.

Within three months of being notified of the provisional calculations, manufacturers may notify the Commission of any errors in the dataset. The Commission shall consider any notifications and either confirm or amend the provisional calculations, based on the final data to be published by the European Environment Agency.

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