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Proposal for post-2020 CO2 targets for cars and vans


On 8 November 2017, the European Commission presented a legislative proposal setting new CO2 emission standards for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles (vans) in the European Union for the period after 2020.

The proposed targets are set for the EU-wide average emissions of new cars and vans in a given calendar year from 2025 on, with stricter targets applying from 2030.

The proposal also includes a mechanism to incentivise the uptake of zero- and low-emission vehicles, in a technology-neutral way.

The proposed framework builds on the current Regulations setting CO2 emission standards for cars and vans which will be repealed on 1 January 2020.


The proposal will:

  • contribute to the achievement of the EU's commitments under the Paris Agreement,
  • reduce fuel consumption costs for consumers,
  • strengthen the competitiveness of EU automotive industry and stimulate employment.

Expected benefits include

  • around 170 million tonnes of CO2 reduced in the period 2020 to 2030 (equivalent of the total annual emissions of Austria and Greece together) and better air quality, especially in cities;
  • GDP is projected to increase by up to €6.8 bn in 2030, creating up to 70,000 additional jobs;
  • on average, a consumer will save up to around €600 for a new car bought in 2025 over a vehicle's lifetime and up to around €1500 for a new car bought in 2030;
  • overall, consumers will save up to around €18 bn per year in fuel costs;
  • using and importing less oil: the proposal would in total save around 380 million tonnes of oil over the period 2020 to 2040 – worth around €125 bn at today's prices (around €6 bn on average per year).

30% reduction of emissions from both cars and vans

Average emissions of the EU fleet of new cars in 2030 will have to be 30% lower than in 2021. For the EU fleet of new vans in 2030, the reduction also amounts to 30%.

For 2025, targets for cars and vans are 15% lower than in 2021, so as to ensure that emission reductions occur as early as possible.

In order to provide for the transition from the current to the future framework, the proposal also includes the already established EU fleet wide targets for 2020/2021 of 95 g CO2/km for passenger cars and 147 g CO2/km for light commercial vehicles, both of which are based on the NEDC (New European Driving Cycle) test procedure.

Starting from 2021, the emission targets will be based on the new emissions test procedure, the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP), which was introduced on 1 September 2017.

As the WLTP test procedure will be phased in over the next years, the newly proposed 2025 and 2030 fleet wide targets are not defined as absolute values (in g CO2/km), but expressed as percentage reductions compared to the average of the specific emission targets for 2021.

While the proposed Regulation applies to all passenger cars and light commercial vehicles newly registered in the Union, manufacturers responsible for less than 1000 new registrations per year are exempt from the CO2 targets.

Accelerating the uptake of zero- and low-emission vehicles

The proposed framework combines CO2 targets for 2025 and 2030 with a technology-neutral incentive mechanism for zero- and low-emission vehicles in order to give the market a clear signal for investment in clean vehicles.

The incentive covers both

  • zero-emission vehicles such as battery electric or fuel cell vehicles and
  • low-emission vehicles having tailpipe emissions of less than 50 g CO2 per km – these are  mainly plug-in hybrid vehicles equipped with both a conventional and an electric engine.

Manufacturers achieving a share of zero- and low-emission vehicles, which is higher than the proposed benchmark level of 15% in 2025 and 30% in 2030, will be rewarded in the form of a less strict CO2 target. For determining that share, account is taken of the emission performance of the vehicles concerned. As a consequence, a zero-emission vehicle is counted more than a low-emission vehicle.

The proposed framework aims to support a gradual transition from vehicles powered by conventional engines to electric vehicles in order to allow for sufficient time for re-training and up-skilling of those employed in the automotive sector, so that no worker or region is left behind. Dedicated EU initiatives are available for that purpose, including the EU Skills Agenda and Blueprint for Sectoral Cooperation on Skills.

Ensuring a fair distribution of effort

Not all manufacturers have to meet the same target. Instead, the EU-wide fleet target set is distributed among the manufacturers on the basis of the average test mass of all new cars or vans in a manufacturer's fleet.

This approach is in line with the current Regulations and it allows maintaining the diversity of the European vehicle market and its ability to cater for different consumer needs.

Cost-effective achievement of targets

The proposal includes several elements aimed at supporting cost-effective implementation of the CO2 targets:

  • CO2 emission savings from eco-innovation technologies can help manufacturers to reduce their average emissions. These are innovative technologies, whose effect in reducing emissions is not reflected in the official test procedure. The new proposal extends the scope of eco-innovations to include air-conditioning systems and provides for a revision of the 7 g CO2/km cap with effect from 2025.
  • Small volume manufacturers with less than 10,000 car registrations or 22,000 van registrations may apply for a derogation from their emissions target to take account of their specific situation.
  • Manufacturers, other than manufacturers which have been granted a derogation target, may form a pool for the purpose of meeting a common CO2 target.

Strengthening market surveillance and ensuring compliance

The effectiveness of the targets in reducing CO2 emissions in reality depends on

  • the representativeness of the official test procedure for determining the emissions with respect to real-world driving, and
  • the extent to which the vehicles placed on the market conform to the reference vehicles tested at type approval.

In order to ensure the effectiveness of the targets, the proposed framework introduces market surveillance mechanisms for maintaining a reliable and trustworthy system.

Building on the Recommendations of the Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM) and the European Parliament, the collection, publication, and monitoring of real world fuel consumption data is foreseen. This will be based on an obligation for manufacturers to fit standardised 'fuel consumption measurement devices' in new vehicles.

Moreover, in-service conformity checks will be introduced to ensure that the vehicles on the road perform as those approved during type-approval. In case of deviations, correction mechanisms allow for these deviations to be taken into account during the compliance assessment.

The Commission, supported by the European Environment Agency (EEA), publishes every year the monitoring data of the preceding calendar year including manufacturer-specific CO2 performance calculations. This well-established monitoring system constitutes the basis for annual compliance assessment.

In case a manufacturer (or pool) exceeds its specific emissions target, the Commission shall issue a penalty of 95 EUR per g CO2/km of exceedance for each newly registered vehicle of the manufacturer (or pool) concerned in that year.

Contributing to the achievement of the Paris Agreement

The proposed framework will contribute to the Energy Union  strategy's goal to bring about the transition to a low-carbon, secure and competitive economy.

It will help to meet the objectives set out in the EU 2030 framework for climate and energy, which includes the target of an at least 40% cut in domestic EU GHG emissions compared to 1990 levels.

The GHG emission reductions in the non-ETS sectors, which include road transport, will have to amount to at least 30% by 2030 compared to 2005.

The Commission has proposed 2030 GHG emission reduction targets for Member States under the Effort Sharing Regulation covering the non-ETS sectors. The newly proposed CO2 standards will help Member States to achieve those targets.

Consultation of stakeholders and the public

Stakeholders were involved at various stages in the development of this proposal. The results of the written stakeholder consultation. are summarised in Annex 2 of the Impact assessment.

The legislative proposal has been submitted to the European Parliament, the Council, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions for further consideration under the ordinary legislative procedure.

The public has the possibility to provide feedback on the legislative proposal after it was adopted by the European Commission.


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