New cars’ CO2 emissions well below Europe’s 2015 target

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News Published 15 Apr 2015 Last modified 21 Jun 2016
3 min read
Photo: © Dirk-Jan Kraan
New cars sold in 2014 emit on average 2.6 % less CO2 than those sold in 2013 and almost 7 grammes of CO2/km below the 2015 target, according to provisional data published today by the European Environment Agency.

The average emissions level of a new car sold in 2014 was 123.4 grammes of carbon dioxide (CO2) per kilometre, significantly below the 2015 target of 130 g, according to provisional data from the European Environment Agency (EEA). Since monitoring started under current legislation in 2010, emissions have decreased by 17 g CO2/km (12 %). Manufacturers will, nevertheless, have to further reduce emissions to meet the target of 95 g CO2/km by 2021.

Key findings  

  • A total of 12.5 million new cars were registered in 2014, the first overall increase since 2007. Registrations increased in all EU Member States compared to 2013, except for Austria, Belgium and the Netherlands.
  • A new car sold in 2014 emitted on average 123.4 grammes of g CO2/km, significantly below the 2015 target of 130 g CO2/km. Europe had already reached its 2015 target by 2013, two years ahead of schedule.
  • Average emissions levels in 2014 were below 130 g CO2/km in 17 of the 28 Member States.
  • Significantly more efficient models were bought in the pre-2004 EU Member States compared to the newer EU Member States. The most efficient cars were bought in the Netherlands (107 g CO2/km), Greece (108 g CO2/km) and Portugal (109 g CO2/km), while the least efficient cars were bought in Estonia (141 g CO2/km), followed by Latvia (140 g CO2/km) and Bulgaria (136 g CO2/km).
  • Diesel vehicles remain the most sold vehicles in Europe, constituting 53 % of sales. Countries with high proportions of diesel sales include Ireland (74 %), Luxembourg (72 %), Portugal (71 %), Spain (66 %), France and Greece (64 %), Croatia (63 %) and Belgium (62 %).
  • Despite minor fluctuations in the past, the fuel efficiency of petrol cars has been catching up with that of the more fuel-efficient diesel cars in recent years. The average emissions gap between petrol and diesel is currently below 3 g CO2/km, around one seventh of the gap in 2000.
  • Around 38 000 electric vehicles were registered in 2014, up by 57 % compared to 2013. The largest number of registrations was recorded in France (more than 10 700 vehicles), Germany (around 8 500 vehicles) and the UK (around 6 700 vehicles). Nevertheless, electric vehicles continue to constitute only a very small fraction of new registrations (0.3 %).

EEA activities

In accordance with EU Regulation (EC) No 443/2009, the EEA collects data on all passenger vehicles registered in Europe and makes it available online. The data collected includes information on CO2 emissions and vehicle mass. It is reported by all Member States in order to evaluate the performance of the new vehicle fleet towards the 2015 CO2 emissions target (130 g CO2/km).

Type approval test procedure

Member States report new vehicles’ CO2 emission levels, calculated on the basis of a standardised driving cycle. This cycle allows a comparison of emissions by manufacturers, but it does not necessarily represent real-world driving conditions. Later this year, the EEA plans to publish a separate report highlighting the key reasons for the growing differences observed between official and real world driving emissions.

Next steps

While the average target for the collective EU fleet has been met ahead of the deadline, it has not yet been confirmed whether different manufacturers have met their own specific annual targets, based on the average mass of the cars they sell. The EEA will publish the final data on manufacturers’ individual performances in the autumn.


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