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European motor manufacturers call for integrated carbon approach

  • Story Highlights
  • Manufacturers have reduced emissions in their vehicles by 13 per cent in 10 years
  • Drivers need to adapt their driving style to reduce emissions
  • Taxation on CO2 emissions perceived as crucial in shaping demand for low-emission vehicles
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by James Snodgrass for CNN
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LONDON, England (CNN) -- A body representing the interests of Europe's major car manufacturers has called for an integrated approach to cutting carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) believes that putting the environmental burden solely at the door of the automobile industry will jeopardize European car production and not achieve sufficient environmental gains.

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Ford's Focus FFV can run on gasoline or ethanol produced from fermented cereal crops, or a mixture of the two

The report, Reducing CO2 Emissions From Cars: Towards An Integrated Approach, calls for manufacturers, governments, technology firms and drivers to work together to prevent growing emissions. And it warns that there is not, and will not be, a single technical solution to the problem.

While it acknowledges the part its members have played in the past decade -- introducing more than 50 new CO2-cutting technologies into their vehicles and reducing emissions by over 13 per cent -- it doesn't believe the automotive industry can go it alone.

The report outlines the five components of an integrated approach:

1. Technology and Research.
The industry needs to refine conventional engine technologies, improve the aerodynamic of cars and decrease curb weights (which have increased massively over recent years because of increased crash protection). Manufacturers should continue to finance independent research while also participating in industry-wide initiatives such as EUCAR, the R&D organization of the European vehicle manufacturers.

2. Biofuels.
ACEA believes that the importance of biofuels in European Union (EU) policy has been underestimated. Alternative fuels will need to be developed and sold at a much larger scale. However the industry needs time to modify engines and ensure technical compatibility. And supply of existing fuels needs to continue to allow older cars to run on the fuel for which they were designed.

3. Drivers Must Adapt Their Driving Style.
Motorists can significantly reduce their fuel consumption -- and as a consequence their CO2 emissions -- by adopting "Eco-Driving" techniques. These include shifting into higher gears as early as possible, maintaining a steady speed once in the highest possible gear, anticipating traffic flow and switching off the engine at short stops. The report also suggests that drivers regularly check their tire pressures, make use of on-board computers to check economy and use GPS units for navigation (getting lost uses unnecessary fuel). Drivers should also ensure that their vehicles are not carrying surplus weight: roof racks and cycle racks should be removed on journeys where they are not used.

4. Infrastructure Measures Needed to Reduce Traffic Jams.
ACEA calls for better road design and intelligent traffic management. It suggests that 50 per cent of traffic lights should be replaced by modern dynamic lights to generate optimal traffic flow. Fuel economy reductions can also be made by adjusting the road surface to reduce rolling resistance by up to 40 per cent, delivering a five per cent reduction in CO2. It points to a study of Japan's Tokyo Metropolitan Expressway which has reduced annual CO2 emission in the capital by between 22,000 and 31,000 tonnes.

5. CO2-based Taxation to Shape Demand for Lower Emission Vehicles.
To date 11 EU member states have introduced taxation systems that take into account cars' CO2 emissions or fuel efficiency. But they are not sending out clear market signals because there is no standardization. This creates market fragmentation, with manufacturers unable to exploit economies of scale. ACEA calls for harmonized taxation of vehicles and of alternative fuels in the EU.

ACEA's member companies include car makers PSA Peugeot Citroen, Volkswagen, Fiat Group, Renault, GM Europe, BMW, Ford of Europe, Porsche, Volvo and DaimlerChrysler and commercial vehicle manufacturers MAN, Scania and DAF. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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