Average carbon dioxide emissions by new cars in the European Union grew 1.8 percent in 2018 – the second consecutive year of growth after a steady decline between 2007 and 2016, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association.
The associations first report on transitioning to zero emission mobility reported that average passenger car CO2 emissions in the trade bloc reached 120.6 grams per kilometer last year.
Launched at the Frankfurt Motor Show Sept. 11, the report also discussed enabling factors for stronger consumer acceptance of electric and other alternatively-powered cars. EU officials view the uptake of zero emission vehicles as one of the keys for meeting its goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The trade bloc had been making progress. Between 2007 and 2016, average CO2 emissions by new cars dropped each year and by 25 percent over that time, from 158 CO2/km to 118.1 CO2/km. The downward trend ended in 2017, when emissions rose 0.3 percent to 118.5g CO2/km.
If the extremely ambitious 2025 and 2030 CO2 targets set by the EU are to be achieved, sales of such vehicles will have to pick up rapidly, the association said in a news release about its report. In April, the European Parliament and the Council adopted Regulation (EU) 2019/631, setting CO2 emission performance standards for new passenger cars and for new light commercial vehicles in the EU for the period after 2020. From 2025 on, manufacturers will have to meet the new targets set for the fleet-wide average emissions of new cars and vans registered in a given calendar year, with stricter targets applying from 2030. The new regulation will start applying on Jan. 1, 2020, when the current regulations setting CO2 emission standards for cars and vans will be repealed.
The report found that Estonia posted the highest average CO2 emissions from new passenger cars at 132.3 g CO2/km, followed by Luxembourg with 131.4, Germany at 129.9, and Hungary and Latvia, each at 129. The Netherlands had the lowest such emissions at 105.5, followed by Malta at 105.9, Portugal with 106.3, Denmark at 109.6 and Greece with 111.1.
ACEA said one key factor in the rise of average CO2 emissions in 2017 and 2018 is the sharp rise in gasoline sales and decline in diesel fuel sales over that period. Gasoline-powered cars emit more CO2 than equivalent diesel cars. In 2017, most new cars in the EU were powered by gasoline for the first time since 2009.
The following year, 2018, saw an even bigger drop in diesel car sales, and a stronger surge in demand for those powered by gasoline.
Two percent of all cars sold in the EU in 2018 were electrically-chargeable, up from 1.4 percent in 2014. Hybrid EVs accounted for 3.8 percent of new passenger cars in the EU last year, up from 1.4 percent in 2014. Only 0.4 percent of cars sold in the EU in 2018 were natural gas-powered, down from 0.8 percent in 2014. Fuel cell vehicles currently account for a negligible share of total EU car sales.
ACEA represents the 15 major Europe-based car, van, truck and bus manufacturers. Making the Transition to Zero-Emission Mobility, the 2019 progress report, is available on the ACEA website.