The European Commission is threatening more stringent legislation to combat carbon dioxide output if more is not done, despite news that average emissions are down to their lowest level ever.
Statistics for cars registered in 2004 – the latest figures available – show the average emissions of cars in Europe was 161g/km, down from 185g/km in 1995.
This represents progress towards a target of average emissions of 140g/km by 2008 as set down in a 1998 commitment by the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA).
But the European Commission said the figures were not progress enough.
Günther Verheugen, commission vice-president, said: ‘Car manufacturers have made continuous and substantial progress since 1995, but the situation is not satisfactory. I urge the industry to step up their efforts. We expect the industry to stick to its commitments.’
Verheugen and environment commissioner Stavros Dimas said that if the industry did not honour its commitments, the commission would consider taking measures including legislation to ensure that necessary CO2 reductions were achieved.
Commission spokesman Gregor Kreuzhuber was quoted as saying that the EC ‘will not hesitate to replace the carrot with the stick. The car industry should be aware that we are watching.’