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Carmakers falling short on EU emissions targets: report

German automaker BMW made the best emission improvements with CO2 grams per kilometre down by 7.3 percent last year, according to the study by the independent European group which campaigns for cleaner modes of transport.
by Staff Writers
Brussels (AFP) Aug 26, 2008
Car makers are not doing enough to meet proposed EU targets for cutting carbon dioxide emissions, according to a report Tuesday, with some German and Japanese brands facing the biggest challenge to make the grade.

The European Commission wants all carmakers to reduce average emissions to 120 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre (0.6 miles) by 2012.

Under EU plans, they will be expected to make engines that emit no more than 130 grams while 10 grammes per kilometre are intended to be eliminated mainly through the use of cleaner fuels.

The average car emission last year stood at 158 grams, according to the study which comes less than a week before European lawmakers reconvene on September 1 and begin considering the proposals.

The Friends of the Earth environmental group believes that the planned EU measures do not go far enough to address the problem of global warming and that amendments put forward would make the new rules "even more ineffective."

The new study, by the European Federation for Transport and Environment showed that, on average, carmakers were last year 17 percent behind the target, a change of just two percentage points over the previous year and thus far off the necessary CO2 reduction rate.

German automaker BMW made the best emission improvements with CO2 grams per kilometre down by 7.3 percent last year, according to the study by the independent European group which campaigns for cleaner modes of transport.

However smaller cars made by French rivals Peugeot-Citroen and Renault, and Italy's Fiat were still nearer to the 2012 target, though making slower progress.

According to the report, France's Peugeot-Citroen and Renault and Italy's Fiat are the best-placed to meet the proposed goals for 2012 with Japan's Toyota and Honda placed fourth and fifth in the low emissions table.

However Nissan, Mazda and Suzuki were three of the four worst-performing brands along with Daimler.

German cars are among the most powerful models produced in Europe and auto manufacturers there have argued they would be penalised more than competitors in countries like France and Italy that produce a larger number of small vehicles.

Under a Franco-German proposal, the auto industry would have until 2015 to reach the targets for models that are already in production, compared with 2012 across the board in the EU Commission's plan.

That plan also stipulates that they could obtain a slight additional margin above 130 grammes if they introduced certified "eco-innovations" elsewhere in the vehicle such as more environmentally friendly tyres or seven-speed transmissions that would boost fuel economy.

Transport and Environment director Jos Dings criticised the German approach. "German carmakers want CO2 targets to only apply to the cleanest cars in the early years. It's the equivalent of demanding that a smoking ban should only apply to non-smokers."

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