Climate Action

Average CO2 emissions from new light-duty vehicles registered in Europe increased in 2018, requiring significant future emission reductions to meet upcoming 2020 and 2021 targets

21/06/2019

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 provisional data published by the European Environment Agency. However, average CO2 emissions of both new passenger cars and new vans were higher in 2018 than in 2017. Manufacturers will have to significantly reduce emissions of their fleet to meet the upcoming 2020 and 2021 targets.

The 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 120.4 grams of CO2 per kilometre, which is below the current target of 130 g/km. However, average emissions increased by 2 grams per km compared to 2017.

The average CO2 emissions of new vans sold in the EU and Iceland in 2018 was 158.1 grams per km, which is below the current target of 175 g CO2/km. For the first time, average emissions of vans increased year-to-year. They were 2 grams per km higher in 2018 than in 2017.

With the stricter EU fleet-wide targets for vans (147 g CO2/km from 2020) and cars (95 g CO2/km from 2021 with a phase-in in 2020) fast approaching, manufacturers will have to further reduce emissions 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 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. As was the case in 2017, more petrol cars (almost 60% of the new fleet) were sold than diesel ones (36%).
  • At the same time, a segment shift took place towards sport utility vehicles (SUVs) powered by petrol. Between 2017 and 2018, the market share of SUVs increased from 25% up to 31%.

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 electric vehicles 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 50 % and 19% 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 %).

Based on the provisional data, and when taking account of pooling arrangements, all van manufacturers met their specific CO2 emission targets in 2018, whereas four car manufacturers have been found to be exceeding their specific emission targets. It concerns Automobili Lamborghini SPA, Chevrolet Italia SPA, DR Motor Company SRL and GM Korea. As a result, if provisional data are confirmed, they will be required to pay excess emission premiums.

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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