EU to Compromise on Auto Emissions

By Paul Riegler on 1 December 2013
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Driving on the A8 in Germany

Driving on the A8 in Germany

The European Union announced a compromise that will allow it to slash greenhouse gas emissions, albeit in a less dramatic fashion that had been announced a few weeks earlier.

The plan was modified after Germany protested and sought to modify it to allow its luxury carmakers to have more time to comply with the new rules.

The European Union’s 28 national governments as well as the European Parliament ratified the agreement.  Despite the change, it calls for faster and more dramatic emission cuts than what the U.S. is currently planning.

The new rules will require the average new car sold in Europe to emit less than 95 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer.  The compromise will require 95% of an automaker’s fleet to meet that target by 2020 and 100% in 2021.  The new rules also allow the automakers greater flexibility in offsetting the emissions of their luxury vehicles with higher sales of cheaper, more fuel efficient cars.

The original plan was not as flexible and was derailed by Germany, which is home to numerous makers of luxury vehicles including Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Porsche.  The German government’s quest to water down the new rules was questioned in October after it was revealed that the Quandt family, which owns roughly 17% of BMW, had made a significant donation to the Christian Democratic Union, the political party of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.  Both parties have said that the timing of the donation was purely coincidental.

Last summer, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced rules that will mandate a 54.5 mpg (4.35 l/100 km) fuel economy rating by 2025.  The EU rules are slightly more stringent: the EU says that 95 grams of carbon dioxide per 100 kilometers is equivalent to 56.4 mpg (xx l/100 km) although others including the United Nations have said that the figure is closer to 57.6 (xx).

(Photo: Accura Media Group)