The European Parliament wants to cut average CO2 emissions from new cars and vans by 40% by 2030, with 35% of registrations to be ultra-low emission vehicles by that time.
In a vote earlier today (October 3), MEPs said they also wanted to lower CO2 emissions 20% by 2025: both targets are tougher that those proposed by the European Commission, which wanted cuts of 15% by 2025 and 30% by 2030.
EU environment ministers will discuss the issue at their meeting next Tuesday with a final decision not expected before December.
While these are European regulations, the UK Government last month announced they are still likely to apply to the UK even if it leaves the European Union without agreement (a no deal scenario).
Manufacturers would be set UK-specific targets which will aim to keep pace with EU targets, on the basis of their UK vehicle registrations only.
The European Parliament proposal was opposed by the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA), which said the timetable for the changes might be too tight to meet.
Erik Jonnaert, secretary genreal of ACEA, said his organisation felt “40% is, in our opinion, over the top”, adding that the Commission agrees with it that “everything beyond 30% is going to create major social implications.”
He added: “We remain particularly concerned about the extremely aggressive CO2 reduction targets and the imposition of sales quotas for battery electric vehicles that MEPs have backed.
“Today’s vote risks having a very negative impact on jobs across the automotive value chain.”
However, the result of the vote was welcomed by the European Public Health Alliance.
Zoltán Massay-Kosubek, policy manager, at EPHA, said: “Members of the European Parliament demonstrated that health is a political choice.
“They listened to citizens and voted for clean air. They voted to beat air pollution-related diseases, prioritising sustainability over economic interest.
“There are no policy silos: transport, climate and health goals are inextricably linked and only a coherent policy approach with high CO2 emission targets could bring clean air to our cities.
“The voice of the health community should continue to be loud and clear to ensure the link between how high standards can improve health and reduce costs is understood.
“We urge the Member States to be ambitious: high ambition will reduce health care costs, reduce inequalities and boost the economy in a sustainable way.”