The 2008 European Automotive Forumexternal (EAF), organised on 23 January by the Belgian Automobile Federation (Febiac) and the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA), lined up a series of workshops with topics ranging from 'the complexity of car engineering' to 'changing the consumer mindset' and 'better roads: a denied source of emission reduction,' where Norwegian consultancy Sintef presented a study on how improved road infrastructure can reduce vehicle emissions.
While the aim was clearly to raise the profile of 'complementary car technologies', which the European Commission currently foresees contributing to no more than a 10g/km emissions reduction, a number of interesting alternative CO2 reduction options were presented.
Patrick Ozoux, the director of Michelin's EU office, presented a study revealing that European cars could emit up to 7g/km less just by switching to better tyres. 'One out of five tanks is only for the tyres,' he stated, highlighting the important contribution tyres can make to fuel consumption.
Jan De Strooper, managing director of the Belgian company DrivOlution, presented his E ecodriving projectexternal – a practical experience over eight months during which changes in fuel the consumption of 150 drivers were monitored after they had received five hours of eco-driving training.
According to him, participants in the programme consumed on average 7.5% less fuel, with half of them in fact achieving reductions of 10-18%, saving 6,275 litres of fuel over one million kilometres. This not only amounts to individual monetary savings of roughly €275 per year, but also to a reduction in CO2 emissions of around 8%, said De Strooper.
'If all of Belgium drove 'e-positively', up to 627.5 million litres of fuel could be saved each year at no cost,' he added.
The figure contrasts with that put forward by ACEA – €3,600, which is the additional cost per car that it claims would be incurred under the proposed EU regulation.
However, green groups have accused industry of 'attempting to shirk off its responsibilities by calling for an 'integrated approach'. MEP Chris Davies, Parliament's rapporteur on cars and CO2, has also rejected the idea of putting more focus on complementary measures in EU legislation, saying: 'If you can't measure it, you can't manage it'.