Tighter standards needed to green the car sector

Target of 80g CO2 per km by 2020 is feasible, study shows

Press release - May 20, 2010
Brussels, International — As industry ministers prepare to adopt a European strategy on clean and energy-efficient vehicles[1] next week, Greenpeace calls on them to strengthen the single most effective EU instrument to achieve this objective – the EU’s fuel efficiency standard for passenger cars.

Greenpeace activists in May 2008 denouncing the 'stone age' attitude of car lobbyists in Brussels



Briefing on the report:



This standard was adopted in 2009, setting a target of 130g CO2 per km by 2015 and 95g CO2/km by 2020.[2] Recent developments, however, suggest that much faster improvements are possible.[3]

To sustain this momentum, the EU should consider a tighter target of 80g CO2/km by 2020 for cars sold in the EU and 50g CO2/km by 2030 as part of an effective strategy to promote cleaner cars. A new report commissioned by Greenpeace shows such a measure is achievable.[4]

Greenpeace EU transport policy advisor Franziska Achterberg said: “EU industry ministers are right to see clean vehicle technology as a way of maintaining the competitiveness of the European car sector. They should recognise that the single most important EU measure to achieve this is ambitious legislation. Stronger fuel efficiency standards will help the sector reduce its carbon footprint while maintaining a level playing field.”

The study conducted by the UK’s Centre for Business Relationships, Accountability, Sustainability and Society (BRASS) sets out four different pathways to achieve the 80g target. These include an increase in hybrid and electric cars, and a shift to lower-powered and smaller cars.

The study is in line with a call by German environment minister Norbert Röttgen for EU targets to be set within a range of 10-35g CO2/km by 2040.[5]

Emission cuts in the transport sector are sorely needed – it has the fastest growing CO2 emissions in the EU.[6]

Other contacts:

Franziska Achterberg – Greenpeace EU transport policy adviser: +32 498 362403 (mobile)
Peter Wells – Director, Centre for Automotive Industry Research (CAIR) and Reader, Centre for Business Relationships, Accountability, Sustainability and Society (BRASS), Cardiff Business School: +44 (0)7809 696062 (mobile),
Mark Breddy – Greenpeace EU communications manager:
+32 496 156229 (mobile)


(1) A European strategy on clean and energy efficient vehicles (COM(2010)186 final) of 28 April 2010. See also Greenpeace’s contribution to the Commission’s stakeholder consultation: http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/sectors/automotive/competitiveness-cars21/energy-efficient/written_contributions_en.htm
(2) Regulation (EC) No 443/2009 of 23 April 2009.
(3) By the end of 2009, several models were on the market that emit less than 120g CO2/km under test conditions, including medium-sized models like BMW’s 320d ES/SE Efficient Dynamics, Peugeot’s 308 1.6 HDi and Renault’s Megane 1.5 dCi. The first battery-electric cars have also been announced for the EU market.
(4) Wells, P. et al (2010), Lowering the bar: options for the automotive industry to achieve 80g/km CO2 by 2020 in Europe.
(5) Klimaschutz als Antrieb für Mobilität, Keynote speech held on 5th April at auto motor sport Kongress 2010, Stuttgart
(6) Transport sector emissions continue to rise. In 2007, transport accounted for 28% of the EU’s overall emissions. Passenger cars were responsible for over half of these. See EEA (2010) Towards a resource-efficient transport system. TERM 2009: indicators tracking transport and environment in the European Union.