The European Union’s goal of reducing CO2 vehicle emissions to 130 g/km by 2012 may be met by default, as consumers increasingly buy more fuel efficient cars.
The car industry has called for more time and financial backing in order to meet the deadline but its argument may become redundant.
Jay Nagley, publisher of environmental website cleangreencars.com, said if the average new car CO2 continued to fall at the current rate of decline due to consumer preferences, the 2012 goal would take care of itself.
Average new car CO2 fell 4.5 per cent in the third quarter of 2008, the biggest drop on record. The average is now 156.6 g/km – 7.4 g/km less than a year ago.
“The car industry says that the EU emission target of 130 g/km of CO2 cannot be met by 2012, but today’s figures suggest otherwise,” said Nagley.
“With buyers increasingly turning to fuel-efficient smaller models and the economic clouds getting ever darker, consumers may force the car industry to meet the target, rendering the argument with the EU irrelevant.”
The 4.5 per cent drop comes after the SMMT’s report of a 21 per cent drop in September new car sales.
While the market for higher-emitting 4x4s and luxury cars fell 40.1 and 42.8 per cent, respectively, small city cars bucked the trend with a 17 per cent rise last month.