European Parliament agrees to looser CO2 rules

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The new rules, though softer, will still be very costly to the already troubled auto industry

The new rules, though softer, will still be very costly to the already troubled auto industry

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In September, a committee in the European Parliament proposed easing the carbon dioxide emissions rules previously set to phase in over the next several years, and today the proposal was approved. The modifications require only 65% of manufacturer fleets to meet the strict 130g/km targets in 2012, raising that figure to 100% by 2015.

When the new rules were proposed several months ago, German industry committee member Werner Langen said, "This is an attempt to find a reasonable compromise between climate policy and the automobile industry's competitiveness." The phase-in process will ratchet up from 65% of the new-car fleet in compliance by 2012 to 75% in 2013 and 80% in 2014, ending at 100% compliance by 2015. Allowing a some room for adjustment based on the weight of the manufacturer's cars gives Fiat a tougher time, having to meet a 122g/km limit by 2015, while Daimler and BMW will only have to get down to 137g/km - still a far cry from today's figures. The end result is a EU-wide fleet that meets the 130g/km limit.

The European Commission's previously proposed legislation would have put the 130g/km average CO2 emissions limit in place for 100% of fleets as of 2012, with varying targets for individual manufacturers. The penalty for exceeding the emissions targets would amount to €95 ($136) for each gram of CO2 above the limit, multiplied by the number of cars sold. According to the industry committee that proposed the newly adopted standard, that should be reduced to €40 (57) per gram.

Despite the softer targets in the new proposal, automotive industry group ACEA has renewed its requests for €40 billion ($57 billion) in funding, reports Automotive News. "We are committed to do what we can to deliver, despite the sudden, dramatic economic downturn that severely limits our resources... We ask for governments to support the strategic auto sector in these extraordinary circumstances," said Christian Streiff, president of the ACEA and CEO of PSA.

The costs of compliance are going to be huge, amounting to about €25 billion ($35.7 billion) annually, according to a study by A.T. Kearney and Credit Suisse. To meet the new targets, automakers will have to reduce emissions by about 3% per year.

Environmental groups are decrying the proposal as the death of the movement, however. "It is questionable whether the agreed climate targets will ever be met given the combination of weak penalties and gigantic loopholes," Greenpeace said of the proposal in September.

Future caps in the new law are estimated to reach 95g/km CO2 emissions by 2020, however, leaving the door open for more haggling between the environmental lobby, industry advocates and the European Commission.
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Comments (4)
  1. Ferrari, Porsch, Aston Martin etc..... are off the hook.

  2. Finally, something sensible..

  3. This is a major setback. The exotic and luxury manufacturers would have simply paid the tax and passed on the cost just like they do for US EPA CAFE fines. This would have added 16,815 Euro to the UK price of a 911 Turbo which currently sells for 101,830 Euro.

    CO2 caps are really fuel economy standards, as CO2 emissions are directly related to fuel economy.

    Now I'm sure someone will be so nice as to chime in and tell me to take my "hippie views" elsewhere but since I'm very interested in cars, I think I'll stay. I think that fuel economy regulations will drive development and bring us even better cars just like they did back in the late 70's with CAFE. I credit CAFE will the death of the carburetor and the rise of fuel injection. Emission regulations are doing the same for motorcycles.

    I also agree with Collin Chapman that the key to speed is to "add lightness". I'm also a sportbike fan and have seen sportbikes get lighter and more powerful with each generation while cars have gotten larger and heavier with each generation. If it takes regulation to get lighter cars, so be it.

  4. If they can keep or improve the performance of these vehicles while improving fuel economy them Im all for it.......

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