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CO2 from new cars in Europe continue to fall

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Staff writer ▼ | April 29, 2016
Emissions from official testing reported by national authorities show that new cars sold in the European Union (EU) are increasingly more fuel-efficient.
EU cars CO2
Auto industry   New cars emitted on average 119.6 grammes
Last year, new passenger cars emitted on average 119.6 grammes (g) of carbon dioxide (CO2) per kilometre, 8% below the official EU target set for 2015, according to provisional data published by the European Environment Agency (EEA).

In 2015, the average CO2 emissions of a new car sold was 3% lower than in the previous year, according to provisional data . Since 2010, when monitoring started under current legislation, official emissions have decreased by more than 20 g CO2/km.

The EU already met its 2015 target of 130 g CO2/km in 2013, two years ahead of schedule. A second official target of 95 g CO2/km has to be met by 2021.

New cars sold in 2015 emitted on average 119.6 g CO2/km, more than 10 g CO2/km below the 2015 target, according to reported emissions.

Sales of new passenger cars in the EU increased in 2015 compared to the previous year. A total of 13.7 million new cars were registered, representing an increase of 9% compared to 2014. Registrations increased in all EU Member States except Luxembourg and Slovenia.

The average mass of new cars sold in the EU (1 381 kg) remained broadly the same as in 2014. The mass of a vehicle is a key factor affecting emissions. On average, the heaviest cars were sold in Sweden and Luxembourg (1 530 kg and 1 496 kg respectively) whereas Maltese, Danish and Greek buyers preferred lighter cars (1 199, 1 233 and 1 260 kg respectively). The average diesel vehicle sold was 311 kg heavier than the average petrol vehicle.

The least fuel-efficient cars were bought in Estonia and Latvia (137 g CO2/km) followed by Bulgaria (130 g CO2/km). For all remaining Member States, the average emission levels were below 130 g CO2/km. As seen in 2014, the Netherlands (101.2 g CO2/km) was the country that registered the most efficient new cars. Portugal and Denmark followed with new cars emitting on average 106 g CO2/km.

Diesel cars remain the most sold vehicles in the EU, constituting 52% of sales. As in past years, the countries with the highest proportions of diesel sales include Ireland and Luxembourg (71%), Portugal (69%), and Croatia, Greece and Spain (63%).

The average fuel efficiency of petrol cars (122.6 g CO2/km) has been catching up with the fuel-efficiency of diesel cars (119.2 g CO2/km) in recent years. Sales of plug-in hybrids and battery-electric vehicles continued to increase.

The relative share of plug-in hybrids and battery-electric vehicle sales was highest in the Netherlands and Denmark, reaching 12% and 8 % respectively of national car sales in 2015. However, sales of such vehicles still remain a small fraction of total sales, accounting for just 1.3 % of all new EU cars sold.

Around 57 000 pure battery-electric vehicles were registered in 2015, a 50% increase compared to 2014. The largest number of registrations were recorded in France (more than 17 650 vehicles), Germany (more than 12 350 vehicles) and the UK (more than 9 900 vehicles).