MEP proposals for van emissions ask for too little, too slow

EU risks losing momentum on decarbonisation of transport

Press release - May 7, 2013
Brussels – The European Parliament environment committee today voted to support long-term targets to improve van fuel efficiency and reduce carbon emissions by 2025. However, the members of the European Parliament (MEPs) failed to tighten up the EU’s unambitious 2020 targets, and supported loopholes that would limit improvements in fuel efficiency. The standards for vans also fall far below equivalent emission standards for passenger cars backed by the same MEPs only last month [1].


MEPs supported unambitious targets for vans of 147g CO2/km for 2020 and a range of 105 g to 120g CO2/km for 2025. Last month, they supported a 95g CO2/km target for cars by 2020, which would be equivalent to about 118g CO2/km for vans [2]. A wide gap between cars and vans targets could also undermine the target for cars through ‘leakage’ – the reclassification of cars as vans so as to avail of the less strict regime. The committee’s support for loopholes known as supercredits also means that each van under 50g CO2/km would count 1.3 times towards the average fleet target.

In addition, MEPs supported the introduction of speed limiters set at 120km/h for new vans from January 2014. The parliament will now negotiate a final deal with European ministers and the European Commission before the end of June.                                                                                                                                        

Greenpeace EU policy director Franziska Achterberg said: “It is good that MEPs have now supported long term targets for both cars and vans. But with much weaker targets compared to those for passenger cars, van manufacturers are on a slow path to cleaner transport. The introduction of loopholes into the mix means that European vans will not benefit from the innovations that stricter standards have helped bring about in passenger cars. European governments must support stronger targets to encourage technological development and tackle rising emissions from road transport.”

The number of vans on Europe’s roads is steadily increasing [3]. The average emissions of new vans registered in Europe were 179 g/km in 2011 [4].


[1] Greenpeace: MEPs bend but do not break under car lobby pressure, 24 April 2013

[2] TNO 2012, Assessment of alternative targets and modalities for the CO2 regulation for light commercial vehicles,

[3]  Anfac 2010, European Motor Vehicle Parc 2008,

[4] ICCT 2012: European Vehicle Market Statistics,


Franziska Achterberg
- Greenpeace EU transport policy director: +32 (0)498 362 403,
Ed Davitt - Greenpeace media officer: +32 (0)476 988 584  


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