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A breath of fresh air

A new report has revealed that new car CO2 emissions in Europe are continuing to fall. The report, released on 30 April by the European Environment Agency (EAA) suggests that average CO2 emissions from new cars across the EU fell by 2.6% to 132.2g/km in 2012. The EEA suggests that the figures are down due to improved car engine technologies arriving in the market but also because of an increase in diesel car sales.

A new report has revealed that new car CO2 emissions in Europe are continuing to fall. The report, released on 30 April by the European Environment Agency (EAA) suggests that average CO2 emissions from new cars across the EU fell by 2.6% to 132.2g/km in 2012. The EEA suggests that the figures are down due to improved car engine technologies arriving in the market but also because of an increase in diesel car sales. The EEA also welcomes the news as another step towards meeting tough long term CO2 emissions targets put in place by the European Commission. The report though goes on to emphasise that a real change in vehicle technology and usage is necessary to continue to move towards the decarbonisation of road transport across the EU.

In this latest edition of the EEA 'Monitoring CO2 emissions from new passenger cars in the EU' report, it is also emphasised that the average new car sold in the EU during 2012 was a full 9% more fuel efficient than the average car registered in 2009. EEA's executive director, Jacqueline McGlade, commented: "New vehicle technology is becoming more efficient, which is an encouraging sign. But significantly cutting the greenhouse gases from transport will also require a more fundamental change in the transport modes we use and how we use them".

Ms McGlade was joined by EC Climate Action Commissioner, Connie Hedegaard, who added: "This clearly shows that it helps to set standards and European car makers are embracing the opportunities of moving to a low-carbon economy by delivering cars that are increasingly fuel efficient and emit less and less CO2. In doing this, the European car industry will not only remain competitive in the changing global market but is also benefiting consumers, who are saving money on fuel".

The EU passed legislation to commit European car manufacturers to cut average emissions of CO2 from their new cars to 130g/km by 2015. This figure should be further reduced to 95g/km by 2020. Industry body, the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA) has meanwhile called for EU policy on CO2 emissions to be 'more realistic and balanced.' The ACEA has urged policy makers to adopt a fact-based approach to CO2 legislation, rather than adopt a politically driven agenda. Defending the European car industry's record on reducing emissions, ACEA secretary general, Ivan Hodac, stated: "By setting unrealistic and politically-motivated long-term targets without a scientific basis, MEPs have taken a dangerous short-cut. They are also disregarding commitments made to the industry in the Commission's CARS 2020 Action plan regarding 'smarter regulation' based on sound impact assessments".

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