EU legislators give in to German bullying on car efficiency standards

Press release - June 25, 2013
Brussels – German car-makers could secure a two or three-year delay in carbon emission standards for cars sold in Europe in 2020, warned Greenpeace. EU negotiators meeting in Brussels agreed to widen proposed loopholes to please makers of high-end brands such as BMW and Mercedes, following an intense lobbying campaign alongside German policymakers.

The delay of the 2020 target follows the three-year postponement of another existing target for 2015, which was originally supposed to enter into force in 2012. After years of scaremongering, European car-makers will reach the 2015 target well ahead of schedule, spurred on by the agreed 2020 target [1].

Representatives of EU governments are due to meet in Brussels this Wednesday and Thursday to consider the plan agreed by the negotiators from the European Parliament, the Irish EU presidency and the European Commission.

Greenpeace EU transport policy director Franziska Achterberg said: “It seems that every time German car-makers cry wolf, the EU comes running. Legislators have once again fallen for the scaremongering and underestimated the industry’s proven ability to innovate.”

EU negotiators confirmed an average EU target of carbon emissions from cars of 95g/km by 2020, but dilution from loopholes known as ‘supercredits’ would mean the target is not in fact reached until 2022 or 2023. Under the plan agreed today, low emission vehicles like electric cars would count double towards average fleet emissions in 2020 than the most polluting cars, such as large SUVs. Real average fleet emissions in 2020 could be as high as 97.5g/km.

Car-makers have also succeeded in skirting firm commitments to continue efficiency improvements until 2025. The European Parliament had proposed a 2025 target to encourage innovation [2].

“Continued improvements in car efficiency would not only mean cleaner air and lower fuel bills, but could also generate hundreds of thousands of new jobs. The EU talks about stimulating innovation, jobs and competitiveness, but has missed a real opportunity to apply its vision,” added Achterberg, referring to a recent study by Cambridge Econometrics and others [3].



[1] In 2008, the EU set a target of 130g/km for 2015 and 95g/km for 2020. In 2012, average emissions from EU car-makers were 132g/km:

[2] The European Parliament’s environment committee voted to include a target range of 68-78g/km by 2025.

[3] Cambridge Econometrics, 'Fueling Europe's Future':

Media Contacts

Franziska Achterberg - Greenpeace EU transport policy director: +32 (0)498 362 403, 
Mark Breddy - Greenpeace communications: +32 (0)496 156229,


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