Latest EU data show automakers need huge gains to hit new CO2 goals

BRUSSELS — Carbon dioxide emissions from new cars in Europe increased for a second consecutive year in 2018, according to data published by the European Union’s environment agency on Wednesday, putting carmakers on a collision course with the bloc’s climate goals.

The EU’s executive Commission urged carmakers to do more to cut their fleets’ carbon footprint to meet tougher emissions targets coming into force this year, even as they grapple with a sales slump and disrupted supply chains due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Manufacturers will have to significantly reduce emissions of their fleet to meet the stricter targets that apply from this year on,” it said.

Average CO2 emissions stood at 120.8g of CO2 per kilometer for new cars registered in the EU — including Britain — and Iceland in 2018, an increase of around 2g compared with 2017, the EEA said.

Carmakers would need to slash their emissions by 27% against 2018 levels, to meet stricter EU pollution targets and avoid fines. The 2020 targets cap average CO2 emissions from new cars at 95g CO2/km.

Increased sales of petrol cars pushed up CO2 emissions in 2018, while fuel-guzzling SUVs grew their share of the market, accounting for 35% of Europe’s new car sales in 2018 compared with 29% in 2017.

Electric and low-emissions car sales increased but still made up only 2% of new car registrations in 2018, EEA said.

Average CO2 emissions from new vans increased in 2018 for the first time.

The commission has pledged more support for clean transport, as part of an EU coronavirus economic stimulus package it says will steer the bloc towards a goal to become “climate neutral” by 2050.

Proposals unveiled by the commission last week promise support to install 1 million electric vehicle charging points in Europe, plus scrappage schemes that prioritize “clean” vehicles.


(Reporting by Kate Abnett; Editing by John Chalmers and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)