Major car makers not cutting emissions fast enough to meet climate targets

Friends of the Earth press release
Wednesday 27 August 2008 by anik

Top car manufacturers selling vehicles in the UK and elsewhere in Europe are not cutting carbon dioxide emissions from their vehicles fast enough to meet proposed EU targets, Friends of the Earth said today.

New research published today [1] revealing average emissions from new cars sold in the EU in 2007 shows that many of the top names are still dragging their feet on fuel efficiency.

BMW - which manufactures Mini in the UK - performed best out of the 14 car manufacturers researched, with a drop of 7.3 per cent in its average vehicle emissions between 2006 and 2007. But of other UK-based manufacturers, Toyota’s emissions fell by only 2.4 per cent, General Motors (which includes Vauxhall) by 0.6 percent, Nissan by 0.5 per cent and Ford (which at the time included Jaguar and Land Rover) by 0.2%. Honda ranked bottom of the table with a 1.1 per cent rise in emissions that year.

Average emissions from new cars sold in the UK decreased slightly from 167grammes of carbon dioxide per kilometre (g/km)/km in 2006 to 164g/km in 2007 - but this was still well above the EU average which fell from 160 g/km in 2006 to 158g/km in 2007.

Friends of the Earth says the results show the urgent need to introduce tough EU carbon dioxide targets for new cars - and is calling on MEPs to vote for these in the European Parliament in the next fortnight . [2]

Friends of the Earth’s Senior Transport Campaigner Tony Bosworth said:

"Cutting emissions from new cars will cut road transport’s contribution to climate change - and slash fuel bills for drivers who are feeling the pain from petrol price rises.

"BMW’s progress in cutting emissions proves that even premium car makers can become greener.

"The car industry as a whole must make much faster progress in designing and building smarter cars that use less fuel for the sake of both drivers and the environment.

"MEPs must stand firm against the self-interested lobbying of the car industry and vote for tough new standards to cut emissions from cars."

For further information please contact the Friends of the Earth media team on 020 7566 1649.

[1The research was published today by Transport & Environment (T&E), a Brussels-based environmental transport group, of which Friends of the Earth England, Wales & Northern Ireland is a member. It is based on official EU monitoring data obtained by T&E under laws granting access to official documents.

[2Negotiations on a new EU regulation setting mandatory limits for carbon dioxide emissions from new cars are at a key stage, with members of the European Parliament’s Environment committee due to vote on the issue on 8 and 9 September. The motor industry is trying to water down a target proposed by the European Commission to reduce average emissions in 2012 to no more than 130g/km. This already represents a relaxation a previously agreed target of 120g/km, which Friends of the Earth wants to see upheld. This target could be met with existing technology such as reducing vehicle weight, better engines and down-sizing. Friends of the Earth is also calling for a long-term target of 80 g/km by 2020 to ensure that carmakers invest now in the technology needed to dramatically improve fuel efficiency in the long term. See Friends of the Earth’s briefing at

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