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FIA Position on Reducing CO2 Emmissions from Cars

Publication date: 17 December 2007

Position by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) to the Commission's legislative framework to reduce the emissions of CO2 from cars

The Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile welcomes the European Commission’s new legislative framework introducing a mandatory CO2 limit on new cars. Improvements in vehicle technology will add to the plethora of measures lined-up by the European Union to fight climate change. While combating global warming must stay a top priority for the European Union, there is a strong argument for strengthening the efforts to reduce CO2 emissions from cars.

The FIA has shown in a model presented last summer that in a “business as usual” scenario the CO2 emission target of 130 g/km by 2012 would be missed by 22 g/km. It also highlights that in all cases CO2 reductions will be best achieved by addressing technical improvement in car and engine design, where 90% of potential reductions lies. The technical improvements that the model deems as the best for potential CO2 reduction are all cost effective. Their implementation cost will be outweighed by the fuel efficiency gains throughout the vehicle lifecycle, reducing the overall global cost of motoring. The model also shows that consumer demand patterns will only have a marginal impact. These recommendations are in line with the adoption of the Commission’s legislative framework.

Climate change being a global issue, the international perspective should not be forgotten either. The FIA believes that there is little point in the EU increasing the stringency of its own CO2 commitment if the rest of the world with its rapidly growing vehicle fleet is not also improving its fuel economy standards. On the long-term the FIA would therefore welcome a global agreement on car fuel efficiency.

At the same time the FIA would like to stress it’s believe that to be most efficient the European strategy to combat global warming needs to become still more comprehensive and better integrated. Achieving sustainable motoring has to be a shared responsibility between industry, policy makers and mobile consumers. In this respect the FIA repeats its call to the European Union to take a resolute lead in defining the roadmap for different CO2 reduction measures, prioritised according to cost-efficiency and impact assessment.

Progressive measures addressing vehicle and fuel technologies, road infrastructure and driver behaviour have to be combined to achieve the most cost-efficient energy efficiency gains. On all these aspects a lot of efforts have to be made. FIA clubs will do their utmost in informing their 34 million European members on the possibilities to buy the most fuel-efficient and cleanest cars and to drive in the most fuel-efficient way. For motorists, fuel efficient cars and driving has top priority because it saves money as well as the environment. The FIA calls also to bring new CO2 efficient fuels, like CNG, biofuels or even hydrogen on the market as soon as possible, if they are proven to be cost effective and environmentally friendly from well to wheel.

The FIA, the world’s leading motoring and touring organisation, represents via its affiliated members, national motoring and touring organisations, over 100 million motorists worldwide and 34 million motorists in the European Union. Europe’s motoring and touring organisations have as their highest priority to make mobility more sustainable, i.e. more reliable, cleaner and safer while keeping it affordable for all.
FIA proposals for achieving CO2 emission reductions from cars

There are a few ways of reducing CO2 emissions, which can be classified in the following categories:


Vehicle technology / fuels
In order to enhance technological innovation and to achieve the European objective of reducing CO2 emissions the FIA appeals to the automotive industry to achieve the original objective of the voluntary agreement, and beyond that make progress towards the target of 120 g/km in the context of a comprehensive approach by bringing new technologies to market in combination with CO2 efficient fuels. Motor sport, as always in the vanguard of introducing new technologies, can play its part too. Sophisticated measures to reduce fuel consumption will be introduced in Formula One (1).

To help understanding the implications of a limit on CO2 the FIA has produced a model (2) that can predict what is needed to get the CO2 emission to 130 g/km. With the help of different scenarios this model makes clear that technical efficiency improvements (of which some can be introduced in the running production while others more lead time) result in the desired reduction of CO2 emission.

Fiscal incentives
A targeted incentive policy should underpin the development of CO2 efficient technologies and fuels.  Hence, the FIA supports the proposal for a Directive on car taxation based on CO2 as a vital part of the EU strategy to achieve sustainable mobility.

Infrastructure / mobility planning
Road infrastructure and traffic management measures represent an underexploited opportunity for energy efficiency gains. More investment in road infrastructure is needed to remove bottlenecks and missing links, reduce congestion and absorb the effects of EU enlargement. Telematic systems and integrated mobility planning also help improving efficient energy use.

The development of good public transport and bicycle facilities can persuade car users to use of alternatives. Good park and ride systems can take care of a fluent transition of the car to public transport and cycling.

Consumer information
The automobile clubs hold a leading position in EU countries in informing motorists, advising governments and setting a good example for others. In this respect the automobile clubs for instance help motorists increasing the energy efficiency of their cars by offering fuel efficient driving courses and information about the fuel efficiency of cars.

Motorists want clear information on fuel economy when making purchasing decisions. Through EcoTest (3), motoring clubs make such information widely available to consumers. The study by the ADAC of Germany on the availability of consumer information on CO2 emissions of new cars conducted at the request of the European Commission calls for harmonised information labels. Indeed this recommendation which has also been taken by the CARS 21 High-Level Group still has to be taken further by the EU.

The FIA took up the challenge to create a common label to inform motorists and developed the “EcoTest” label. Using this label, based on the Ecotest results, the FIA promotes clean and energy efficient vehicles in a way that is the same for all motorists in Europe. As this label does not cover all new models the FIA seeks cooperation with the EU on covering all new cars sold in the EU, this based on a new driving cycle.

Driving behaviour
Long-term analysis shows that fuel efficient driver training increases overall fuel efficiency by five to ten percent. This represents a significant contribution to emission reduction. The ECMT review of transport CO2 abatement policies (4), co-funded by the F.I.A. Foundation, confirms that the largest and most cost efficient abatement policies come from initiatives to improve fuel efficient driving. Fuel efficient driving should be part of novice driver training while advanced driver training should help to sustain the long-term effect. In this respect the FIA participates in the ECODRIVEN project (5) co-financed by the European Commission.

On-board diagnostics should inform drivers about the performance of their vehicle and the consequences of driving habits and maintenance. In this respect instant fuel consumption information, cruise control, tyre pressure monitoring systems and gear-shift indicators are valuable developments.

Lifestyle patterns
As the EU moves increasingly towards becoming a more service-based economy, more flexible concepts regarding working patterns – flexitime or teleworking – could also contribute to reductions in congestion and thereby CO2 emissions.  Staggering school holidays and extending the principle tourist seasons also have a role to play in reducing congestion in leisure mobility.

Global perspective
Given the global character of climate change policy it is important to extend the considerations about how to address energy efficiency issues beyond the EU. Knowledge sharing on energy efficient technologies should be an important pillar of the EU approach. This would for instance allow the car industry to progressively broaden the scope of the 140 g/km target at a global level.

(1) Formula One is now moving, with the cooperation of the major motor manufacturers involved, to a fuel efficiency basis whereby a competitive advantage will be secured by extracting more work from a given amount of energy (i.e. fuel) rather than getting the maximum work from an engine of a limited capacity. This process is likely to be complete by 2011 or 2012 at the latest and to be followed in motor sport generally.

(2) The model developed by FIA member ADAC is based on extensive data research on existing vehicle fleets registered between 2001 and 2006. It extrapolates the information to develop market evolution scenarios. The model examines the effect of different factors such as the share of different fuel types, consumer demand patterns, and technological developments, on the average fleet emissions by 2012.

(3) The annual EcoTest – developed by the ADAC in assignment of the F.I.A. Foundation – supports the consumer to choose an environmentally friendly car considering individual needs regarding vehicle size and class. It assesses the emissions of hydrocarbon (HC), carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxide (NOx), particulate matter (PM) and the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2). The final star rating of cars is based on emissions and fuel consumption. The public interest in this important consumer information is shown by the numerous enquiries and requests for further measurements. The results are seen as an important input for the political discussion on car emissions.

(4) The European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT report “Cutting Transport CO2 emissions: What Progress?”, which was co-funded by the F.I.A. Foundation, examines the level of CO2 emissions from the transport sector and reviews the effectiveness of CO2 abatement policies. The report analyses over 400 abatement measures that have either been introduced or are under development across Europe and makes recommendations for future policy direction.

(5) ECODRIVEN, the European Campaign On improving DRIVing behaviour, ENergy-efficiency and traffic safety is a synchronised European-wide eco-driving campaign aiming at drivers of passenger cars, delivery vans, lorries and buses in 9 EU-countries, including Eastern-European countries. The campaign is based on a bottom-up approach through European-wide local and regional collaborations.

For further information please contact Olivier Lenz (tel. +32 2 2820825 o.lenz at

FIA European Bureau – December 2007

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