Europe: CO2 emission standards for cars and vans: Council agrees its position

The Council today agreed its position (general approach) on a regulation to set stricter CO2 emission standards for new passenger cars and light commercial vehicles.

Brussels, Oct 10, 2018.- “Today’s agreement is a further step towards new legislation on CO2 emissions. It sets the European automotive industry on track to build cleaner cars, invest more in innovation, and report more reliable emission data. By 2030, new cars will emit on average 35% less CO2 compared to the current emission standard limits. This is a solid basis on which to begin talks with the European Parliament.”
Elisabeth Köstinger, Austrian federal minister of sustainability and tourism

Today’s agreement means that the Austrian Presidency has a mandate to start negotiations with the European Parliament. The first meeting will take place on 10 October.

Emission reduction targets
The Council agreed new targets for the CO2 emissions of cars and vans.

2025      2030

Cars     15 %      35%

Vans    15%       35%

Average CO2 emissions of new passenger cars registered in the EU will have to be 15% lower in 2025 and 35% lower in 2030, compared to the emission limits valid in 2021. For vans, the Council maintains the targets as proposed by the European Commission: 15% in 2025 and 30% in 2030. These are EU wide fleet targets. The CO2 reduction effort will be distributed among manufacturers on the basis of the average mass of their vehicle fleet.

Zero- and low-emission vehicles
The Council agreed to adjust the Commission proposal on an incentive mechanism for zero- and low-emission vehicles such as fully electric cars or plug-in hybrid vehicles as regards passenger cars. The benchmark for cars for 2030 was raised to 35%.

The Council decided to introduce a better weighting of low-emission vehicles in the incentive mechanism for ZLEVs.

The Council also agreed a specific incentive for manufacturers to sell zero- and low-emission cars in markets with a low market penetration of these vehicles. In concrete terms, there is a more favourable weighting for newly registered passenger cars in member states where the share of zero- and low-emission vehicles is below 60% of the EU average.

For vans, the Council agreed to leave the Commission proposal unchanged.

More reliable emission data
Under the new rules, car manufacturers will have to report more robust and more representative data concerning the emissions of cars and vans. The Council decided to strengthen the provisions by obliging manufacturers to report measured values instead of declared values. The calculation of targets will thus be based on measured WLTP values.

The Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) is an improved test procedure which provides CO2 emission and fuel consumption values that are more representative of real world conditions than values obtained through the test procedure used previously, the New European Drive Cycle (NEDC). The WLTP became mandatory for all new car models from September 2017 and for all new cars from September 2018.

Background and next steps
The Commission presented its proposal on the regulation in November 2017 as part of the clean mobility package.

The proposal has been the subject of detailed negotiations in the Council Working Party on Environment before being submitted to ministers at the Environment Council on 9 October.

Today’s agreement enables the Council to start negotiations with the European Parliament, which adopted its position on 3 October 2018. Negotiations between the co-legislators will start immediately – the first trilogue meeting is scheduled for 10 October.

The overall aim of the proposal is to contribute to achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement and to reaching the EU wide 30% reduction target by 2030 compared to 2005 of the non ETS (Emissions Trading System) sector set by the European Commission, which is translated into national targets in the Effort Sharing Regulation.

The proposed measures and targets are based on the 2030 climate and energy framework and with the energy union strategy, which aims at a reduction in transport emissions and energy consumption. The reduced need for fossil fuels will also improve the security of energy supply in the EU and reduce our dependence on energy imports from third countries.

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