Passenger cars cause European CO2-emissions to rise
For the first time since 2008 the combined CO2-emissions from the European passenger car fleet is rising. Two effects seem play a part at it: the popularity of 4×4-like SUV-models and the consumer’s tendency to turn away from diesel.
The German magazine Der Spiegel states the rise is limited to just 0.6 grams of CO2 per kilometre, with the data being preliminary as well. But the tendency is worrying, since the average CO2-emissions of the Europe car fleet have to drop to 95 grams, compared to 118 grams currently.
By selling ever more high and heavy SUV-models, car manufacturers have undone the benefits they created by developing more fuel-efficient engines. In Germany, where more fuel-efficient diesel engines have dominated sales, consumers have turned against this type of fuel.
Since the dieselgate scandal broke loose at Volkswagen, ever more cities worrying about air quality are announcing a ban on diesel engines in their city centres. Compared to last year, diesel sales have dropped nearly 13 percent.
In the Netherlands, the rise in CO2-levels already showed last year. New passenger cars on average emitted 106 grams of CO2 per kilometre, a five percent rise. Up until 2015 the Dutch government fiscally supported cars emitting less CO2. Because of a CO2-based taxation punishing more fuel consuming vehicles, the Dutch average is still below the European average.
As of 2021, the European Commission will impose an average CO2-emission of 95 grams per kilometre for the newly registered European passenger cars. A 95 euro fine will be imposed on manufacturers per car sold and per gram above the 95-gram limit if they cannot make that target.
Currently Citroën, Peugeot and Renault are the best performers, with average CO2-emissions of 104 to 106 grams per kilometre. Jaguar Land Rover is on the other end of the spectrum, with 164 grams on average.
Good news may come from new technology. Mazda this week announced it has developed a new kind of petrol engine up to 30 percent more fuel efficient than existing petrol engines. Mazda will apply a self-combusting fuel ignition process comparable to diesel engines, but without the high levels of nitrogen oxide (NOx) this creates in diesel engines.
Mazda says it now has full control over the combustion process and can offer it in its passenger cars as of 2019.