Climate Action

CO2 emissions from new cars and vans continue to fall


All large car and van manufacturers in the EU met their CO2 emissions target in 2015, according to data published today by the European Environment Agency. The report confirms preliminary findings that the EU fleet average of new vehicles is well below its 2015 emissions target.

The data shows that, based on laboratory tests, the average emissions level of a new car sold in the EU in 2015 was 119.5 grams of carbon dioxide (CO2) per kilometre, significantly below the 2015 target of 130 g. A new van sold in the EU in 2015 emitted on average 168.3 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre, which is already below the 2017 target of 175 g. Manufacturers will have to reduce emissions further to meet the target of 95 g CO2/km by 2021 for cars and 147 g CO2/km by 2020 for vans.

Like last year, the Commission has not confirmed the average specific emissions of CO₂ and the specific emissions targets for the Volkswagen Group pools for cars and vans. Further clarifications are needed from the Group and relevant national type approval authorities before their figures can be confirmed or amended.

Laboratory versus real world driving emissions

For the annual compliance check with CO₂ targets, Member States report CO2 emission levels from new vehicles annually. These are measured under standardised laboratory conditions, following the requirements of the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) test procedure for type-approval.

This cycle allows a comparison of emissions by manufacturers, but it does not necessarily represent real-world driving conditions. There is now wide recognition of the increasing divergence between real world CO2 emissions and those measured according to the NEDC test procedure.

In order to address this increasing gap, in June 2016 the European Commission proposed a more robust test procedure, the World Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP). This new test procedure will ensure stricter test conditions closer to real world driving conditions. The new WLTP test should be mandatory for all new vehicle types from September 2017.

Furthermore, in its opinion on how to better measure car CO₂ emissions, the Commission's new Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM) welcomed the introduction of the new WLTP emissions testing procedure. The Scientific Advice Mechanism also recommends complementing the WLTP test cycle with a framework for the monitoring of real driving CO2 emissions. This opinion will constitute a key reference for the Commission's work on post-2020 emission performance standards for cars and vans in the EU.

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