Average age of the vehicle fleet
Assessment made on 01 Jan 2002
ClassificationTransport (Primary theme)
DPSIR: Driving force
- TERM 033
Policy issue: Improve the fleet composition by replacing older, more polluting vehicles with newer, cleaner ones
The AC vehicle fleet is on average four to five years older than the EU fleet, but getting younger, in contrast to the EU passenger car fleet, which is getting older
The average age of passenger cars in a selection of ACs (covering more than 80 % of the total car fleet) was around 11.5 years in 1996, ranging from 6.5 years in Slovenia to 15 in Bulgaria. In the EU this figure was just over 7 years in 1996. This suggests that it takes longer for new vehicle technologies to penetrate into the car fleet in the ACs than in the EU, and that the vehicle fleet in the ACs probably has a worse environmental performance than that in the EU. The same goes for trucks, with an average age in the ACs of 11.4 years for more than two thirds of the entire truck fleet. No data have been obtained on the average age of trucks in the EU.
The EU vehicle fleet is getting older, slowing the rate of clean technology penetration - the average age of the car fleet increased between 1990 and 1999 by one year. No time series on average age is available for the ACs, but the strong growth in passenger cars, combined with a steep growth in the number of end-of-life vehicles in the ACs, indicates rapid vehicle replacement, which probably brings down the average age of vehicles. The introduction of scrappage schemes (as in Hungary since 1993) and banning the import of certain second-hand cars (as in Romania and Slovenia) should further enhance this process.
Outdated public transport equipment (European Commission, 1999a), aircraft fleets and ship fleets is another problem, particularly in the ACs. Implementing EU legislation with respect to technology and safety standards will eventually lead to trains, rail and ships complying with such standards, while obsolete aircraft will gradually be banned from European airports, mainly because of noise restriction policy. The rate at which these improvements will penetrate the rail, ship and aircraft vehicle fleet depends, among other factors, on the extent to which obsolete vehicles are replaced by second-hand ones and the environmental performance of such replacements.
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This briefing is part of the EEA's report The European Environment - State and Outlook 2015. The EEA is an official agency of the EU, tasked with providing information on Europe's environment.
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