Monitoring CO2 emissions from passenger cars and vans in 2013

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Courtesy of European Environment Agency (EEA)

The European Environment Agency (EEA) supports the European Commission in the monitoring of the CO2 performance of passenger cars, in accordance with Regulation (EC) 443/2009, and of light commercial vehicles in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 510/2011. The regulation for passenger cars sets a CO2 'specific emission' (1) target of 130 g CO2/km by 2015 whilst the regulation for light commercial vehicles sets a CO2 'specific emission' target of 175 g CO2/km by 2017, defined as the average value for each manufacturer's fleet of newly registered vehicles in the EU that year (2). The 2015 (cars) target is being phased in gradually from 2012 while the 2017 (vans) target is being phased in gradually from 2014. Starting from 2013, a specific binding CO2 target has been calculated for each car manufacturer based on the average mass of its fleet (Annex 1). The specific binding CO2 target for vans will apply with effect from calendar year 2014.

A long-term target of 95 g CO2/km to apply to the entire fleet from 2021 and of 147 g CO2/km applicable from 2020 has been set for passenger cars and for light commercial vehicles respectively. The modalities for compliance with these targets were agreed by the European Parliament and the Council in 2014 with Regulation (EU) No 333/2014 amending Regulation (EC) No 443/2009 and Regulation (EU) 253/2014 amending Regulation (EU) No 510/2011.

Monitoring of vans is more complex than that of passenger cars, due to the relatively high number of multiple stages vehicles (3), where different parts are built by different manufacturers. As a consequence some uncertainty remains in the 2013 vans data, in particular as regards the mass in running order.

From 2015 a new monitoring scheme will be applicable which is expected to address this issue. In order to evaluate the progress of manufacturers towards their targets, the EEA has collected and quality-checked data on CO2 emissions from passenger cars and vans registered in all Member States of the European Union (EU) (4) since 2010. Using Member State data, as verified by manufacturers (5), this note provides an overview of the performance of car and van manufacturers in meeting their 2013 CO2 emissions targets.

The main findings are:

  • the EU car fleet meets the 130 g CO2/km target two years ahead of the 2015 deadline 2015. The average specific emissions of the new European car fleet in 2013 was 126.7 g CO2/km, a reduction of 4.1 % compared to 2012.
  • the average specific emissions of the new light commercial vehicles European fleet in 2013 was 173.3 g CO2/km, a reduction of 3.8 % compared to 2012;
  • the difference between preliminary average specific emissions (the emissions data reported by each of the Member States) and final average specific emissions data (the emissions data after any corrections made by the manufacturers) was insignificant (< 0.3 g CO2/km);
  • the average vehicle mass of the passenger car fleet remains at the highest level (1 390 kg) during the last 10 years, although a slight decrease has been observed in the last year (– 11 kg). The average mass of the light commercial vehicle fleet is 1 761 kg;
  • data collected reveal that in 2013 the majority of the car and light commercial vehicles manufacturers achieved their CO2 emission targets set for 2013.

In recent years there has been a growing awareness of the need to ensure that emissions measured in the type approval driving cycle (6) better represent 'real‑world' driving conditions. In particular, numerous studies have highlighted the often significant divergence between type approval and real-world CO2 emissions. Reflecting this, a substantial effort has been made in EU in recent years to update the current type‑approval procedure by introducing the Worldwide harmonized Light vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) approach that aims to better represent actual vehicle operations on the road. Despite such differences, it is nevertheless clear that real emission reductions have occurred as a result of the introduction of the EU CO2 emission performance standards for light duty vehicles.

To illustrate the scope of the potential differences, this report also presents results of an assessment comparing the current reported regulatory 'type‑approval' emissions with estimated 'real‑world' emissions. Real-world CO2 emissions were estimated based upon a set of models constructed to determine fuel consumption of passenger cars predicted on the basis of independent variables reported by Member States, including the vehicle mass, engine capacity and type-approval CO2 emissions.

The main findings of the assessment are:

  • EU wide, the real-world to type-approval CO2 emissions ratio for petrol cars is comparable to the one for diesel cars for all vehicle sizes. Looking at the overall petrol and diesel fleet, the ratio is somewhat higher for diesel cars (21 %) than for petrol ones (19 %) because the relative contribution of large cars (with an engine size above 2.0 litres) is higher for diesel than for petrol.
  • The CO2 emissions ratio for petrol cars varies from 18 % for small cars to 32 % for large cars, whereas for diesel cars it ranges from 22 % for small cars to 27 % for large cars.

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