Efforts are being made at the European Parliament to delay for three years the introduction of the proposed EU-wide cap on CO2 emissions for new cars of 120kg/km.
If successful, fleets would be allowed to continue buying existing models, which could become more expensive if improved with new emissions reduction technology.
The European Commission has proposed the industry should comply with this maximum by 2012, albeit with some built in flexibilities to accommodate concerns amongst manufacturers of larger cars.
But the Parliament’s industry committee wants manufacturers to be given significantly more time to adapt their engine and exhaust designs.
It has proposed that “in 2012 a quarter of a manufacturer’s new cars, in 2013 half, in 2014 three-quarters and in 2015 all of them would have to achieve the target of 120 g CO2/km, including the complementary measures.”
The committee added in a report: “This flexibility is needed to allow manufacturers the leeway they need for development.”
It noted that given today’s 160g/km average emissions by cars in Europe, to comply with the new target “average fuel consumption must be reduced to about five litres per 100 km for petrol-driven vehicles and about 4.5 litres per 100 km for diesel vehicles,” branding these “very ambitious targets.”
The proposed changes will need to be approved by the full parliament and the EU Council of Ministers to become law and resistance can be expected from the parliament’s environment committee, which will make proposals September 9.
Ministers are expected to have their crucial vote in October.
Meanwhile, the industry committee is also proposing much lower penalties for manufacturers breaching the suggested CO2 ceiling than those tabled by the Commission:
Euro 40 per excess gram of CO2 by 2015, compared with the Commission’s Euro 95 penalty.
And it wants encouragement in any cap formula for manufacturers to develop very low emission cars.