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Average CO2 emissions from new cars rise for second year in 2018

Tuesday, 25 June, 2019 - 12:21

Average carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of new cars registered in the European Union increased in 2018 for the second consecutive year, according to a study published by the European Environment Agency (EEA) on Tuesday.

Average CO2 emissions for new passenger cars rose by 2.0 grams to 120.4 grams per kilometre, while average emissions for light commercial vehicles also increased by 2.0 grams rising to 158.1 CO2/km. This is the first increase in average CO2 emissions from new vans since the regulation came into force in 2011, following a sharp decrease in 2017, the EEA said.

The increase has come after several years of CO2 reductions up until 2016. 

The main causes of the rise of average  CO2 emissions is the proliferation of SUV-type vehicles and the preference for petrol cars. Sports Utility Vehicles weigh more, have a higher centre of gravity and, in many cases, worse aerodynamics than other types of cars, leading to higher fuel consumption.

In the case of light commercial vehicles, the main cause of the increase is also due to a preference for larger vehicles.

Meanwhile, the market penetration of zero- and low-emission vehicles, including electric cars, remained low in 2018, with battery-powered electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles accounting for only 2 percent of registrations. 

The EU has set a goal for CO2 emissions from all new cars of 95 grams per kilometre by 2021. 


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