New cars still way behind in reaching EU emission standards by 2021

Of the 33 brands evaluated, the cars of 13 showed significant increases. In 2018, new vehicles put on the market by Renault emitted, on average, 110 g/km, which is three extra grams of CO2 per km than in 2017. [Shutterstock]

While the European Union has set a limit of 95g/km for new vehicles in 2021, with one year to go before the deadline, manufacturers are stagnating at 122g/km according to AAA Data. EURACTIV’s partner le Journal de l’environnement reports.

By 2021, new car brands should not emit, on average, more than 95g of CO2/km; otherwise, car manufacturers will be fined. But there is still a long way to go to achieve this goal, according to research by AAA Data, which JournalAuto.com was able to consult.

In 2019, the average carbon footprint of new passenger cars registered in France remained stable compared to 2018 (122g/km). Worse, some brands are recording substantial increases and have, in some cases, exceeded this average.

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Increased CO2 emissions

Of the 33 brands evaluated, the cars of 13 manufacturers showed significant increases. In 2018, new vehicles put on the market by Renault emitted, on average, 110 g/km, which is three grams of CO2 per km more than in 2017.

The same observation applies to its subsidiary Dacia, whose cars emitted an average of 119 grams of CO2 per km, an increase of two grams per km in one year.

Fiat, for instance, saw an increase of four grams per km as its cars increased emissions from 118 to 122 g/km between 2017 and 2019. And other brands like Jeep and Alfa Romeo did not fare much better.

When it comes to more top-of-the-range cars, Mercedes-Benz models will have emitted an average of 128 g of CO2 per km in 2019, up sharply from 122 g/km in 2017.

And the same goes for Audi and BMW. The latter went from 119 g/km in 2017 to 122 g/km in 2019. Last but not least, emissions from Alpine carbide are currently at 144g/km, compared to 137 two years ago.

At this rate, the battle against CO2 is not going to be won.

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Diesel cars decrease, SUVs rise

Several factors explain such poor performance.

First, the decline in the share of diesel (which emits less than petrol) between 2018 and 2019 is to blame. Last year, 760,000 new diesel passenger cars were registered, which is a decrease of 10.6% in one year.

The decline benefited petrol-fueled vehicles. From 2018 to 2019, there were 1.281,802 new passenger cars of that kind, translating into a 7.9% increase. In addition to these types of vehicles reaching a 58% market share, an increasing number of big, bulky and energy-guzzling city cars are being purchased.

In 10 years, SUV sales have tripled in France, with more than 800,000 registrations in 2019. These vehicles emit an average of 133 g/km of CO2 per km.

Still, some hope remains, as the purchase of electrified vehicles continues to grow, with an 18% increase in sales for hybrids, which now account for 5.7% of the market. And although fully electric vehicles still only account for just 2% of France’s entire vehicle fleet, numbers have increased by 37.7%.

While these results are encouraging, they will not be enough to bring down the average carbon footprint to meet the targets set by the EU.

But as the number of new electric car models available on the market is expected to increase drastically this year, it remains to be seen whether this might be enough to meet EU standards.

[Edited by Zoran Radosavljevic]

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