DOUGLAS A. BOLDUC

Green group spills oil; makes confusing point on CO2

Douglas A. Bolduc is Managing Editor at Automotive News Europe.Douglas A. Bolduc is Managing Editor at Automotive News Europe.
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Green lobby group Transport & Environment has released a YouTube video that it hopes will put pressure on lawmakers to prevent them from weakening Europe's passenger-car CO2 target of 95 grams per kilometer by 2020. The trouble is that the video's message is difficult to understand.

The video, Stop the Oil Waste from Europe's Cars, was presented to the European Parliament on Monday ahead of Wednesday's discussions before the EU's environment committee.

The talks will determined the ground rules for automakers to reduce average fleet CO2 emissions from new cars in Europe to 95g/km by 2020 from a targeted 130g/km in 2015. In fuel use terms, that's a reduction to 4.1 liters of fuel per 100km from 5.6l/100km.

In the video, a number of cars leak oil out of their tailpipes, which just doesn't happen in real life. It's a tough topic to put into pictures but to me the video is misleading. It makes me think these cars a leaking oil, which is not the case.

I asked T&E what message it was trying to convey with the video. The answer: If EU lawmakers give automakers concessions that weaken the 95g/km legislation, there will be billions of additional liters of fuel used each year by new cars in Europe -- resulting a more CO2 and costing car owners billions of euros at the pump. That's the waste.

To avoid this, T&E opposes giving automakers so-called supercredits that would enable them to keep producing powerful, more polluting cars as long as they made enough low emission vehicles, such as electric cars.

Proponents of supercredits say they will help boost sales of full-electric cars and plug-in hybrids. Last month, the EU industry committee voted to cap the extent to which supercredits can be used at 2.5 grams of CO2 per kilometer per year.

In a policy briefing released this month, T&E says its opposes any use of supercredits because they "diminish the benefits of the regulation, and carmakers do not need them to achieve their 2020 targets."

You can reach Douglas A. Bolduc at dbolduc@crain.com.

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