UK carmakers struggle to meet EU carbon limits

UK car manufacturers are not cutting their vehicles’ carbon emissions fast enough to meet proposed EU targets, according to research by the Brussels-based Transport and Environment group of NGOs

The study, which used the EU’s own monitoring data, found that BMW performed best out of the 14 UK-based car manufacturers. The company cut average vehicle emissions by 7.3% between 2006 and 2007.

But Toyota’s emissions fell by only 2.4%, General Motors (which includes Vauxhall) by 0.6%, Nissan by 0.5% and Ford (which at the time of research included Jaguar and Land Rover) by 0.2%.

Honda came bottom of the table with a 1.1% rise in emissions. John Kingston, environment manager at Honda, acknowledged that its emissions had risen slightly last year, but argued that the research only shows one year’s results in isolation.

Average emissions from new cars decreased slightly from 167grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre in 2006 to 164g/km last year. This compares with the EU average of a fall from 160g CO2/km to 158g/km in the same period.

Members of the European Parliament’s environment committee are due to vote on mandatory limits for carbon dioxide emissions from new cars on the 8th and 9th of September. They want to reduce average carbon emissions to no more than 130g CO2/km by 2012. A further cut of 10g/km must be achieved through other measures such as use of biofuels and low rolling-resistance tyres.

“BMW’s progress proves that even premium car makers can become greener,” said Tony Bosworth, senior transport campaigner at Friends of the Earth which is a member of Transport and Environment. “The car industry must make much faster progress in designing and building smarter cars that use less fuel for the sake of both drivers and the environment.”

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