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European New Car CO2 Emissions On Rise Again

March 6, 2019

By Paul Homewood


h/t Robin Guenier




An analysis by JATO Dynamics has found that average new vehicle CO2 emissions in European increased in 2018, with the total average increasing by 2.4 g/km to 120.5 g/km in 2018—the highest average of the last four years. The analysis covered 23 markets in Europe and found a direct correlation between diesel car registrations and average CO2 emissions.

Chart 1

With increased negative public perception towards diesels, combined with new government regulations such as WLTP and scrutiny of the fuel type, demand for diesel fell by 18% in 2018.

The introduction of WLTP in September 2018 has been a challenge for the market, as a large number of available vehicles had not been homologated yet. The increase in CO2 is certainly worrying and bad news for governments and most carmakers. Instead of moving forwards, the industry is regressing at a time when emissions targets are getting tougher.

—Felipe Munoz, JATO’s global analyst

The total value of CO2 emissions was on a steady decline from 2007, but started to slowdown in 2016 as the fall reduced from -4.1 g/km in 2015 to -1.4 g/km. At the same time, the sales growth of diesel cars fell from +7% to +1%. This trend was confirmed in 2017 with the first average CO2 emission increase in years of 0.3 g/km, and an 8% drop in demand for diesel cars. Last year saw an even greater variation between demand for diesel (-18%) and an increase in CO2 emissions (+2.4 g/km).

JATO attributes the main cause of the emissions increase last year to the downturn in demand for diesel. The average emissions for diesel cars continued to be lower than their gasoline counterparts (3.2 g/km).

The positive effect of diesel cars on emissions has faded away as their demand has dropped dramatically during the last year. If this trend continues and the adoption of alternative fueled vehicles doesn’t accelerate, the industry will need to take more drastic measures in order to meet the short- term targets.

—Felipe Munoz

  1. NeverReady permalink
    March 6, 2019 10:24 am

    “…The positive effect of diesel cars on emissions has faded away as their demand has dropped dramatically during the last year. If this trend continues and the adoption of alternative fueled vehicles doesn’t accelerate, the industry will need to take more drastic measures in order to meet the short- term targets.

    —Felipe Munoz…”

    Perhaps we should start by stopping bashing diesel cars, thus selling more with the consequence that the emissions level will start to drop off again.

    Just one of those radical blue skies kind of thoughts….

    • AndyG55 permalink
      March 6, 2019 10:53 am

      Perhaps realise that CO2 is GOOD for the planet,

      drop the chicken-little act and just let CO2 emissions rise.

      • Bidefordcamel permalink
        March 6, 2019 11:03 am

        I’ve used the sky is falling in analogy before and totally agree with you. The alarmists have constantly driven home (pun intended) the message that CO2 is a nasty pollutant whilst failing to focus on NOx emissions.

      • Rudolph Hucker. permalink
        March 7, 2019 8:26 am

        The people making these decisions are ‘experts and Polititians’ many of whom are dimmer than a Toc H lamp, and Ivory from the neck upwards.

  2. March 6, 2019 10:42 am

    For years people were told diesel was less harmful to the climate than petrol, with car taxes set accordingly. Suddenly the advice is reversed, car makers have to change tack and face even bigger fines for missing CO2 targets.

    The whole thing is a farce.

    • March 6, 2019 10:56 am

      The EU is a farce (unless you get paid by the EU). How many times has the EU, against sound advice, brought in a policy and then several years later, reversed the policy?

    • spetzer86 permalink
      March 6, 2019 2:03 pm

      Just wait a few years and see the fun they get into explaining why EVs are crashing the EU grid. Nothing like Central Planning to get an economy in a real bind.

  3. Robin Guenier permalink
    March 6, 2019 11:06 am

    And don’t forget the recent finding that the Land Rover Disco is 20 times “cleaner” than the Renault Clio:×4-found-to-be-20-times-cleaner-than-a-renault-clio-as-new-emissions-test-reveals-which-cars-really-are-dirty/

  4. HotScot permalink
    March 6, 2019 11:28 am

    I read somewhere over the last few days that new Mercedes models emit next to zero NOx. Other diesel manufacturers are approaching that.

    The premature deaths of 40,000 ’caused by diesel particulates’ widely publicised by some activist medics in the MSM means, according to European data, that each of us can expect to die 0.584 days earlier than expected over a lifespan of some 80 years or so.

    Considering diesels are roughly 25% more efficient than petrol ICE’s that means 25% fewer petrol tankers on our roads; 25% less crude oil production (for vehicles); 25% fewer ships transporting oil around the world; 25% smaller vehicle fuel tanks which reduces wear and tear on tyres, suspension and transmissions. Diesel cars don’t need catalytic converters which contain rare earth minerals and because they operate at lower revs that a typical petrol car, the engines last longer.

    Three illuminating reports are available here:

  5. Joe Public permalink
    March 6, 2019 12:01 pm

    Both old & new are ‘theoretical’ figures.

    The fact they’re measured differently means outcome figures are different is hardly surprising.

    Apparently, WLTP simply better represents current everyday driving profiles.

    “However, while the WLTP has a common global ‘core’, the European Union and other regions will apply the test in different ways depending on their road traffic laws and needs.”

  6. Thomas the Scot permalink
    March 6, 2019 12:39 pm

    6 years ago I bought my first diesel, a new 1.6 litre car. Two reasons:- better mileage than petrol and only £30 annual road tax.
    I accept that in towns NOx emissions are now found to be possibly a problem.
    I am a sceptic and live in rural Scotland. Whether or not I buy diesel or petrol next time will depend mainly upon costs. CO2 emissions will not be considered.

  7. David Kendrick permalink
    March 6, 2019 3:05 pm

    I never knew we were a huge manufacturer of diesel engines until Europe tried to ban the industry. Diesel became the new steam engine in the 50’s and the skills stayed in the UK so JCB, Cummins and Caterpillar all have UK plants, top 3 of the worlds top 5. The UK builds most of Europes Honda diesel engines(Swindon due to close in 2022 largely due to a consumer backlash partly due to VW and BMW screwing them over with the test cheating but mainly the fuel tax & repressive law enforcement ) and most of the components destined for high performance lorries which were DAF, I cant say IVECO since I used to work for them and they sourced lowest bidder usually Italy and the old soviet bloc states, engine blocks were VW but VW sourced from Eastern Europe and assembled in Germany which is probably why they crack and catch fire.

    • March 6, 2019 6:10 pm

      I believe that Dagenham only makes diesel engines these days too

  8. MrGrimNasty permalink
    March 6, 2019 6:31 pm

    Cars are getting heavier generally and people are selecting the bigger models in the ranges – it’s hardly surprising more fuel is being burnt per km and increases in efficiency aren’t enough to compensate. I suspect this is a bigger factor than the diesel backlash.

    • March 6, 2019 9:07 pm

      mk I golf – 900kg. mk VII golf – 1350kg.

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