The European Agency (EEA) reported a 2.6% decrease in average CO2 emissions from new cars delivered in the European Union, surpassing goals set for this year as part of a movement to delay climate change. The EEA said that average emissions fell to 123.4g/km, falling lower than a 2015 target of 130 grams that had already been achieved with the 126.7 grams recorded in 2013.
In addition, the report revealed that the countries where the most carbon-efficient vehicles were purchased are Portugal, Greece, and the Netherlands. On the other hand, countries with the least efficient vehicles are Latvia, Estonia, and Bulgaria. The EU seeks to delay global warming and has established a target of 95g/km by 2021.
When interviewed by Reuters, Martin Adam, who oversees the EEA unit for air pollution, transport and noise, said that based on past trends, emissions are expected to continue to drop. He said that the drop in 2014 was primarily due to higher efficient cars rather than because Europeans (who are affected by the poor economy) are only able to buy more efficient smaller vehicles.
In the EU, new-car registrations increased by nearly 6% to 12.5 million, ending the trend of declines since hitting a 15.5 million pre-recession peak in 2007. Last January, industry group AWEA said that the 2014 improvement was the result of government incentives, tax breaks and a consumer shift to more affordable brands like Dacia and Skoda.
According to Adam, the EEA data are only for the entire year and will not be able to determine if a steep decline in oil prices last year had pushed consumers to larger, higher-emissions cars within the last few months. He also said that the EEA seeks to enhance data collection since car emissions may be 20%-30% higher in real-world driving compared to official car tests.
He said that emissions are affected by numerous variables, including open windows, number of passengers, and the use of airconditioning or a roof rack.
According to Brussels-based environmental campaign group Transport & Environment, the EU tests give a false sense of progress due to inflated reductions in carbon emissions by automakers.
It also said that on average, the new cars in 2014 are able to attain 5 liter per 100km in tests (56 miles per UK gallon). The car on the road is able to consume nearer to 6.5 so the average motorist uses up an additional 500 euros ($530) in fuel a year.