EU: cleaner cars show test deficiencies image

Data sourced from the European Environment Agency show that in 2013 new cars were releasing 4% less CO2 than in 2012.

While the news is a good one, detractors and environmental campaigners say the improvement is actually exaggerated and made use of the flaws existing in the current procedures.

The 4% decline puts the carbon dioxide emissions from cars at a 127 g/km average, which means that all automakers managed to best a European Union target set for 2015 limit by two years. The standard for 2015, initiated in 2008 was the first CO2 standard for cars set by law and was further improved to 95 g/km by 2021 – currently the toughest globally – after months of skirmishes, fights, debates and delays.

“Fuel efficiency standards for vehicles are Europe’s single most effective policy to drive down CO2 emissions, but are being undermined by an obsolete test,” Greg Archer, clean vehicles manager at campaign group Transport and Environment (T&E).

All the auto industry has repeatedly resisted against changes to the CO2 limit, which is blamed for pollution, climate change and several health problems. While lowering the limit will further require the carmakers and auto parts suppliers to seek new investments in fuel-efficient technology, the industry average achieved in 2013 was also achieved by exploiting loopholes in the current test procedure.

Research made by the EU Commission shows that automakers used techniques that made the cars achieve unrealistically (in real life driving) good fuel consumption – from tires with better than usual traction to very smooth surfaces.

Via Automotive News Europe