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CO2 regulation

What level of COemissions can we expect in 2020?

The choice of vehicles is numerous. The diversity of styles and options is certainly an asset, but may also cause issues. Especially as the European and national regulations influence drivers and fleet managers behavior.

What CO2 emissions in 2020?

For passenger cars

The European Union, like the United States or China, are still conducting there CO2 emissions reduction.

From 167.2g CO2/km in 2002, the average for Europe emission rate decreased to 120.3g in the first 11 months of 2015, according to figures from CCFA / AAA Data.

For 2020, manufacturers will have to meet the target of 95g CO2/km. The idea being that at that point 95% of new cars meet that threshold and 100% in 2021. This compromise was adopted by the European Parliament in February 2014. Europe has planned heavy fines for those exceeding this value: €95 per gram of CO2 above the standard, multiplied by the number of vehicles concerned.

In 2025, discussions are still ongoing and the CO2 limit allowed should be  expected to be lowered to 68 or 78 g of CO2, a 4 to 6% reduction compared to 2020.

Efforts by manufacturers are even more admirable given the vehicles sold in Europe since 2001, have evolved against this move of reducing CO2 levels. For the record, during this period and according to the International council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), vehicles have become heavier than 134kg, 12cm longer, 0.5 m2 bulkier, 15 HP more powerful and more expensive to € 5,500.

For light commercial vehicles

The European Union still sets the target of 175g by 2017 and 147g by 2020.

What programs for local pollutants from new cars?

For many years, the EU regulation also impels more strict standards in terms of local pollutants such as carbon monoxide (CO), sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxide (NOx ) or the famous fine particles (PM).

With Euro 5 diesel engine particulate emissions have been greatly reduced, by dividing by 5 the authorized emissions. As of 2014 (for new models) and September 2015 (for all vehicles), NOx emissions were flagged by the European authorities, in the framework of the Euro 6 standard.
In detail, the builders had to bring to market vehicles with halved NOx emission rates  compared to Euro 5. To achieve this goal, manufacturers have resorted to expensive technology, which increased vehicles' prices prices from 800 to € 1,000.

According to professionals, this new standard led to shape the market according to energies, in terms of drivers driving habits: small gasoline vehicles for small and medium-wheelers and diesel powered engine for larger and more expensive vehicles, made for long journeys.

This segmentation is already implemented on the small models where there is almost no more diesel engine (with the exception of the new Fiat 500 equipped with a turbo diesel engine complying with Euro 6).

But uncertainty remains ( especially for companies and fleet managerss): How will the maintenance costs of fuel engines evolve, as they are becoming increasingly sophisticated to meet the pollution standards, but also be subject to more breakdowns compared to diesel engines?
The hunt for NOx is far from over since the European Union has voted a new standard in 2017 regarding local pollutants, called Euro 6c, and a new calculation method of consumption and CO2 emissions, closer to accurate driving conditions. The so-called global standard WLTP (Harmonized Worldwide Light Duty Test Procedure driving) will replace the standard NEDC (New European Driving Cycle), in force since 1973 but has shown over the years being too far from actual consumption results.

In detail, from 1 September 2017, laboratory engine tests will be complemented by road tests that will determine the registration of new vehicles, as part of this protocol called WLTP - RDE (Worldwide Harmonized Light vehicles Test Procedure - Real Driving Emissions). But as manufacturers believe that by that time, they will still be unable to meet the standards in real conditions, Europe has allowed a tolerance period so that they are not all dropouts. It is true that as of todayt, the gap between testing and real driving is on an average 400%!

For the record, under the new approval procedure NOx emission levels in real conditions (RDE), vehicles originally were not to emit more than 128 mg / km NOx, that's1.6 times the limit level in the European Union and embodied by the Euro 6c standard (80 mg / km).

After many discussions between all stakeholders (including environmental organizations), Parliament endorsed these measures on February 3rd. In the end, between September 2017 and January 2020, emissions in real conditions may exceed 110% of the laboratory standard (ie 168 mg / km NOx). From January 2020, vehicles will still exceed the 50% level set by the Euro 6c standard, with a coefficient set at 1.5, ie 120 mg / km.