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Post-2020 CO2 emission performance standards for cars and vans

Policy

On 17 April 2019, the European Parliament and the Council adopted Regulation (EU) 2019/631 setting CO2 emission performance standards for new passenger cars and for new light commercial vehicles (vans) in the EU for the period after 2020.

From 2025 on, manufacturers will have to meet the new targets set for the fleet-wide average emissions of new cars and vans registered in a given calendar year, with stricter targets applying from 2030.

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

The new Regulation will start applying on 1 January 2020, when the current Regulations setting CO2 emission standards for cars and vans will be repealed.

Benefits

The new Regulation 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

  • a 23% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from road transport in 2030 compared to 2005. This will support Member States in meeting their national targets under the Effort Sharing Regulation;
  • savings for consumers of around €1,100 over the lifetime of an average new car bought in 2030 and nearly €4,000 for an average new van;
  • positive impacts on employment across the overall economy, with around 60,000 jobs created by 2030 and up to 80,000 if batteries are produced in the EU;
  • a smooth and gradual transition towards zero-emission mobility allowing for sufficient time to provide for an adequate reskilling and reallocation of workers in the automotive sector;
  • a signal for investors in refuelling and recharging infrastructure, which will ensure that the enabling conditions for deploying zero- and low-emission vehicles are fulfilled.

Main elements

Target levels

New EU fleet-wide CO2 emission targets are set for the years 2025 and 2030, both for newly registered passenger cars and newly registered vans.

These targets are defined as a percentage reduction from the 2021 starting points:

  • Cars: 15% reduction from 2025 on and 37.5% reduction from 2030 on
  • Vans: 15% reduction from 2025 on and 31% reduction from 2030 on

The specific emission targets for manufacturers to comply with, are based on the EU fleet-wide targets, taking into account the average test mass of a manufacturer's newly registered vehicles.

Incentive mechanism for zero- and low-emission vehicles (ZLEV)

A ZLEV is defined in the Regulation as a passenger car or a van with CO2 emissions between 0 and 50 g/km.

To incentivise the uptake of ZLEV, a crediting system is introduced from 2025 on.

The specific CO2 emission target of a manufacturer will be relaxed if its share of ZLEV registered in a given year exceeds the following benchmarks:

  • Cars: 15% ZLEV from 2025 on and 35% ZLEV from 2030 on
  • Vans: 15% ZLEV from 2025 on and 30% ZLEV from 2030 on

A one percentage point exceedance of the ZLEV benchmark will increase the manufacturer’s CO2 target (in g CO2/km) by one percent. The target relaxation is capped at maximum 5% to safeguard the environmental integrity of the Regulation.

For calculating the ZLEV share in a manufacturer’s fleet, an accounting rule applies. This gives a greater weight to ZLEV with lower CO2 emissions.

In addition, for cars only, during the period 2025 to 2030, a greater weight is given to ZLEV registered in Member States with a low ZLEV uptake in 2017, and this as long as the ZLEV share in the Member State’s fleet of newly registered cars does not exceed 5%.

Pooling, exemptions and derogations

The provisions on pooling between manufacturers are the same as under the previous Regulations. Pooling between car and van manufacturers is not possible.

The exemption of manufacturers registering less than 1,000 cars or vans per year, as well as the derogation possibility for “small volume” car and van manufacturers, have also been maintained.

The derogation possibility for “niche” car manufacturers, i.e. those registering between 10,000 and 300,000 cars per year, will end after the year 2028. In the years 2025 to 2028, the derogation target for those manufacturers will be 15% below the 2021 derogation target.

Eco-innovations

The provisions regarding the “eco-innovation” credits for emission savings due to the application of innovative emission reduction technologies not covered by the standard test cycle CO2 measurement are largely unchanged compared to the previous Regulations.

New is that the efficiency improvements for air conditioning systems will become eligible as eco-innovation technologies as of 2025 and that the cap of 7 g/km may be adjusted by the Commission through a delegated act.

Governance

Two new elements have been introduced to reinforce the effectiveness of the Regulation.

These concern

  • the verification of CO2 emissions of vehicles in-service and
  • measures to ensure that the emission test procedure yields results which are representative of real-world emissions.

In-service verification

Manufacturers are required to ensure correspondence between the CO2 emissions recorded in the certificates of conformity of their vehicles and the CO2 emissions of vehicles in-service measured according to WLTP.

This correspondence shall be verified by type-approval authorities in selected vehicles. The authorities shall also verify the presence of any strategies artificially improving the vehicle’s performance in the type-approval tests.

On the basis of their findings, type-approval authorities shall, where needed, ensure the correction of the certificates of conformity and may take other necessary measures set out in the Type Approval Framework Regulation.

Deviations found in the CO2 emissions of vehicles in service shall be reported to the Commission, who shall take them into account for the purpose of calculating the average specific emissions of a manufacturer.

Real-world emissions

To prevent the gap between emissions tested in the laboratory and real-world emissions from increasing, the Commission shall, from 2021 on, regularly collect data on the real-world CO2 emissions and energy consumption of cars and vans using the on-board fuel consumption monitoring devices (OBFCM).

The Commission shall monitor how that gap evolves between 2021 and 2026 and, on that basis, assess the feasibility of a mechanism to adjust the manufacturer’s average specific CO2 emissions as of 2030.

The detailed procedures for collecting and processing the data shall be adopted by means of implementing acts.

Life-cycle emissions

By 2023, the Commission shall evaluate the possibility of developing a common methodology for the assessment and reporting of the full life-cycle CO2 emissions of cars and vans.

Review

The Commission shall review the effectiveness of the Regulation and report on this to the European Parliament and the Council by end 2023.

This review shall cover i.a. the following:

  • real world representativeness of the CO2 emission and energy consumption values,
  • deployment of ZLEV,
  • roll-out of recharging and refuelling infrastructure,
  • role of synthetic and advanced alternative fuels produced with renewable energy,
  • emission reductions observed for the existing fleet,
  • ZLEV incentive mechanism,
  • impacts for consumers,
  • aspects related to the just transition,
  • impacts for consumers, aspects related to the just transition,
  • 2030 targets and identification of a pathway for emission reductions beyond 2030.

As part of the review, the Commission shall assess the feasibility of developing real-world emission test procedures, as well as the possibility to assign revenues from the fines to a specific fund or relevant programme with the objective to ensure a just transition towards a climate neutral economy.

Finally, the Commission shall review the Car Labelling Directive by end 2020, covering both CO2 and air pollutant emissions of cars and evaluating the options for introducing a fuel economy and CO2 emissions label for vans.

Documentation

Regulation (EU) 2019/631

Commission proposal - Key documents

Links to related EU policies

Studies

Studies supporting the 2017 impact assessment

JRC Science for Policy Reports