Energy efficiency and specific CO2 emissions

Indicator Specification
Indicator codes: TERM 027
Created 04 Jul 2008 Published 21 Apr 2009 Last modified 21 Feb 2017, 01:20 PM
Topics: ,
Specific CO 2 emissions are defined as emissions of CO 2 per transport unit (passenger-km or tonne-km), specified by mode (road, rail, inland, maritime, air). CO 2 emissions from new passengers cars are expressed in grams of CO 2 per km (g CO 2 /km). The data, which are experimental, are measured in the vehicle type approval procedure.

Rationale

Justification for indicator selection

Transport is responsible for almost one third of final energy consumption (see Eurostat energy statistics) and around one quarter of total CO2 emissions (see TERM 02 - Transport emissions of greenhouse gases). Energy efficiency improvements in transport can, therefore, result in considerable reductions in energy consumption and CO2 emissions.

The average energy efficiency of passenger and freight transport is determined by the fleet composition (number and type of vehicles), vehicle utilisation (occupancy rates and load factors) and driving characteristics (speeds, distances).

In the case of freight transport, energy use per tonne-kilometre also depends on the characteristics of the goods transported (e.g. weight and volume of goods). Thus, differences in the goods transported can result in differences in energy efficiency, expressed as energy use per tonne-kilometre.

This indicator has been selected to monitor the energy efficiency of the various passenger and freight transport modes. It enables the evaluation of related policies and the targets set at the national and international levels.

Scientific references

Indicator definition

Specific CO2 emissions are defined as emissions of CO2 per transport unit (passenger-km or tonne-km), specified by mode (road, rail, inland, maritime, air).

CO2 emissions from new passengers cars are expressed in grams of CO2 per km (g CO2/km). The data, which are experimental, are measured in the vehicle type approval procedure.

Units

For passenger transport, specific CO2 emissions are expressed in g per passenger-kilometre (g/pkm).

For freight transport, specific CO2 emissions are expressed in g per tonne-kilometre (g/tkm).

For new passenger cars, tailpipe emissions are expressed in g per kilometre (g/km).

Policy context and targets

Context description

Since specific CO2 emissions are expressed per transport unit, occupancy rates and load factors have a considerable effect on specific emissions produced from passenger and freight transport respectively. Reductions of specific emissions can be achieved by increasing occupancy rates and load factors and/or by decreasing emissions per vehicle-km (e.g. by setting stricter emission standards and introducing more energy efficient technologies such as hybrid, plug-in hybrids, electric vehicles, etc).

Targets

There are no specific objectives or targets related to energy efficiency or specific CO2 emissions. Policy objectives are only set with respect to the CO2 emissions of passenger cars and light commercial vehicles. Regulation No 443/2009 specifies that each vehicle manufacturer must achieve a fleet-average CO2 emission target of 130 g/km by 2015 for all new cars registered in the EU. In order to meet the CO2 emission target of 120 g/km, additional measures, such as the use of biofuels, aim to further reduce emissions by of 10 g/km. The Regulation also defines a long-term target of 95 g/km to be reached after 2020.

The Vans Regulation No 510/2011 specifies a fleet-average CO2 emission target of 175 g/km to be phased in between 2014 and 2017 for newly registered vans in the EU. A long-term target of 147 g/km is specified for 2020.

As an additional incentive for the introduction of more energy efficient technologies (hybrid, plug-in hybrids, electric vehicles, electric vehicles with a range extender), vehicles with CO2 emissions below 50 g/km receive super-credits. For passenger cars, each such vehicle is counted as 3.5 cars in 2012 and 2013, 2.5 cars in 2014, 1.5 cars in 2015 and 1 car from 2016 onwards. For vans, each vehicle with CO2 emissions below 50 g/km is counted as 3.5 cars in 2014 and 2015, 2.5 cars in 2016, 1.5 cars in 2017, and 1 car from 2018 onwards.

Related policy documents

No related policy documents have been specified

Key policy question

Are passenger and freight transport modes becoming more energy efficient?

Specific policy question

Are passenger cars becoming more energy efficient?

Methodology

Methodology for indicator calculation

For passenger transport, specific emissions are calculated by dividing the CO2 emissions of each mode (i.e. road, rail, maritime and air transport) by the respective passenger-kilometres.

For freight transport, specific emissions are calculated by dividing the CO2 emissions of each mode (i.e. road, rail, inland shipping and maritime transport) by the respective tonne-kilometres.

For CO2 emissions from new passenger cars, data are compiled from DG-CLIMA monitoring 2000-2009, and from the EEA from 2010.

Methodology for gap filling

Passenger- and tonne-kilometres and CO2 emissions are modelled and therefore no gap filling is necessary.

Methodology references

  • EC4MACS model Key data of the EC4MACS transport scenarios: Key data / Transport activities / Vehicle fleet by vehicle category, 2000-2030

Data specifications

EEA data references

  • No datasets have been specified here.

Data sources in latest figures

Uncertainties

Methodology uncertainty

COPERT 4 is used for emissions calculations in EC4MACS. CO2 emissions are consistent with UNFCCC submissions.

Data sets uncertainty

Since the data on CO2 emissions, passenger-km and tonne-km are modelled rather than measured, the data must be treated as estimates. Data on CO2 emissions are less uncertain, as they are calibrated against statistical fuel consumption. Hence, the uncertainty of the passenger-km and tonne-km data characterises the overall uncertainty of the indicator. EC4MACS is not so accurate for calculating vehicle and tonne kilometres. This means that the overall uncertainty of passenger-km and tonne-km (as a modelled output) depends on the uncertainty of the underlying statistical data provided as input to the model. The latter may vary significantly among different countries, depending on the way data are collected and reported.

Rationale uncertainty

N/A

Further work

Short term work

Work specified here requires to be completed within 1 year from now.

Long term work

Work specified here will require more than 1 year (from now) to be completed.

General metadata

Responsibility and ownership

EEA Contact Info

Diana Vedlugaite

Ownership

European Environment Agency (EEA)

Identification

Indicator code
TERM 027
Specification
Version id: 1
Primary theme: Transport Transport

Frequency of updates

Updates are scheduled once per year

Classification

DPSIR: Pressure
Typology: Descriptive indicator (Type A - What is happening to the environment and to humans?)
European Environment Agency (EEA)
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Denmark
Phone: +45 3336 7100