EU sets new van carbon emission targets despite lobbying

New EU standards regime will impose penalties on non-compliant manufacturers.

Online PR News – 16-February-2011 – – The European Parliament voted through carbon emissions targets for vans yesterday as part of a new standards regime that will impose penalties on non-compliant manufacturers. The new carbon emission targets involve that 70% of van manufacturers' fleet must meet a limit of 175g CO2/km by 2014 and ensure all models are below that level by 2017.

With the new standards regime, manufacturers will face fines of €95 (£80) per-vehicle for each gramme of carbon emissions a van exceeds the target. The legislation also sets a limit of 147g CO2/km to be achieved by 2020, a carbon emissions target that was significantly weakened from a proposed 135g CO2/km after furious industry lobbying.

British Conservative MEP Martin Callanan, who steered the legislation through Parliament, was contented that the final carbon emission targets represented a fair compromise with a new standards regime. But, environmental groups slammed the weakened standards regime, condemning the pressure applied by vehicle-making nations France, Germany and Italy.

European manufacturers have claimed that improving van fuel efficiency to meet the 135g CO2/kg rate would be prohibitively expensive. But, campaign group Transport & Environment argued that while the industry said it could not make a 14% improvement in van efficiency over nine years, it has in recent years managed to improve car efficiency at more than three times that rate.

The carbon emission targets were introduced after car firms repeatedly failed to meet voluntary targets. Then, extensive lobbying from the auto industry extended the deadline for meeting the carbon emission targets from 2012 to 2015. However, a report produced in November last year, showed that many manufacturers were on track to meet the carbon emission targets well ahead of the 2015 deadline.

Transport & Environment warned that less-stringent carbon emission targets would drive up costs for smaller businesses, as vans would use unnecessary amounts of fuel – the opposite intention of the legislation.