CO2 emission standards for cars and vans  
2021/0197(COD) - 14/07/2021  

PURPOSE: to revise Regulation (EU) 2019/631 as regards strengthening the CO2 emission performance standards for new passenger cars and new light commercial vehicles in line with the Union’s increased climate ambition.

PROPOSED ACT: Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council.

ROLE OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: the European Parliament decides in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure and on an equal footing with the Council.

BACKGROUND: transport is the only sector where greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have been on the rise. The GHG emissions from road transport are no exception. They represent almost 20% of total EU GHG emissions and have significantly increased since 1990. Air quality continues to be impacted by traffic and congestion, leading to increasing number of cities introducing low and zero-emission zones restricting local access for vehicles with internal combustion engines and to certain Member States announcing the phase-out of sales of internal combustion engine cars.

The European Green Deal launched a new growth strategy for the EU that aims to transform the EU into a fair and prosperous society, with a modern, resource-efficient and competitive economy. The ‘European Climate Law’ has made the EU's climate neutrality target by 2050 legally binding.

The Commission has presented a complementary and interconnected set of proposals as part of the 2030 Climate and Energy ‘Fit for 55’ package to achieve the greenhouse gas emission reduction target of at least 55% compared to 1990. This ‘Fit for 55’ legislative package is the most comprehensive building block in the efforts to implement the ambitious new 2030 climate target, and all economic sectors and policies will need to make their contribution, including road transport.

CONTENT: with this proposal, the Commission aims to contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the EU to achieve the updated target for 2030 and climate neutrality by 2050 by setting strengthened CO2 emission performance standards for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles.

The proposal should ensure that CO2 emissions from light-duty vehicles are reduced, provide benefits to consumers in term of air quality and energy savings, and strengthen the technological leadership of the EU automotive value chain. Additional co-benefits are expected to be increased energy efficiency and energy security.

A combination of measures is required to tackle rising emissions in road transport to complement emissions trading. Stronger CO2 emissions standards for cars and vans will accelerate the transition to zero-emission mobility. Under the proposal, average emissions of new cars should be reduced by 55% from 2030 and 100% from 2035 compared to 2021 levels. For new vans, the net reduction targets would be 50% and 100% respectively.

To ensure that drivers are able to charge or fuel their vehicles at a reliable network across Europe, the revised Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation will require Member States to expand charging capacity in line with zero-emission car sales, and to install charging and fuelling points at regular intervals on major highways: every 60 kilometres for electric charging and every 150 kilometres for hydrogen refuelling.

In addition, the proposal:

- introduces derogations for certain manufacturers responsible for between 1 000 and 10 000 new passenger cars or between 1 000 and 22 000 new light commercial vehicles in a calendar year to apply for a derogation from the specific emission targets is removed from 2030 onwards. Manufacturers responsible for less than 1 000 new vehicle registrations per calendar year continue to be exempt;

- sets out the obligation for the Commission to report on the progress towards zero-emission road mobility and assess the need for possible additional measures to facilitate the transition;

- amends the Annexes with a view to: (i) adjusting the formulae for calculating the EU fleet-wide targets for 2030 and setting the formulae for 2035 as well as the annual specific emission targets for each manufacturer  and removing the application of the zero- and low-emission vehicle (ZLEV) factor from 2030 onwards and; (ii) adjusting the formulae for determining the slope values required for calculating the annual specific emission targets. This adjustment is made in order to ensure a fair distribution of the reduction burden between manufacturers of lighter light commercial vehicles and those manufacturing heavier vehicles of that category.