European Environment Agency (EEA) data issued on 24 June confirm that CO2 emissions from new passenger cars in the EU28 rose for the second year running in 2018, up 1.8% on 2017. Last year was also the second year when petrol cars were the most sold fuel type, further expanding their market share while sales of diesel-fuelled cars continued to decline. New vans also recorded a CO2 increase (+1.3%) for the first time since records began.
Some 8.5 million new petrol cars were sold last year, up from 7.6 million in 2017, according to data from the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA). In 2018, 5.4 million new diesel cars were registered, representing a drop of 1.2 million cars compared to the previous year. At the same time, just under 302,000 electrically-chargeable cars were sold in 2018.
Clearly, there is a correlation between diesel/petrol sales and CO2 emissions. This is because petrol cars emit more CO2 than equivalent diesel cars. “Although the gap between average CO2 emissions from diesel and petrol cars is narrowing, it is still significant – especially as almost 1 million more new petrol cars were sold last year compared to 2017,” said ACEA Secretary General, Erik Jonnaert.
Under the current scenario, the prospect of fines for not reaching the 2020/2021 CO2 target is, to a varying degree, a serious concern for car makers. Obviously, failure to meet these targets would also put manufacturers at a major disadvantage for reaching the recently-set 2025 and 2030 CO2 targets.
As this is clearly not in the industry’s interest, auto makers are investing massively in all low- and zero-emission technologies – including full battery electric cars, plug-in hybrids and hybrid electric vehicles, as well as those fuelled by natural gas or hydrogen.
ACEA urges the 28 EU Member States to step up investments in charging points for electrically-chargeable vehicles and refuelling stations for other alternatively-powered cars, putting in place meaningful and sustainable incentive schemes to encourage more consumers to buy them.
“Amidst the strong push for alternatively-powered vehicles, we should not write off the latest generation of diesel cars, which not only emit less CO2 than their petrol counterparts, but also deliver low on-road pollutant emissions in practice,” Mr Jonnaert stressed.