BRUSSELS -- The European Union told automakers to do more to meet stringent emissions targets after a new report showed carbon dioxide pollution from cars had increased.
Average CO2 emissions of new cars registered in the EU and UK increased for a second consecutive year in 2018, according to data published by the blocs's environment agency on Wednesday,
CO2 emissions in 2018 rose to 120.8 grams per km, up 2 grams from the previous year.
Automakers need to slash their emissions by 27 percent against 2018 levels to meet stricter EU pollution targets and avoid fines. The 2020 targets cap average CO2 emissions from new cars at 95g/km.
"Manufacturers will have to improve the fuel efficiency of their fleet and accelerate the deployment of zero- and low-emission vehicles," the European Commission said on Wednesday.
The increase in average emissions for new cars was caused mainly by the continuing shift away from fuel-efficient diesels to gasoline vehicles, with the share of the diesel fleet dropping by 9 percentage points.
In 2018, 60 percent of new cars were gasoline, while diesels accounted for 36 percent, according to the EU.
The average CO2 emissions of new vans were 157.9g/km, increasing for the first time year-on-year.
Emissions were also affected by changing consumer preferences, with buyers leaning toward larger and heavier gasoline-powered SUVs. Their market share rose to 35 percent in 2018 from 29 percent.
"New registrations of zero- and low-emission cars increased in 2018 but represented only around 2 percent of new car registrations, compared to 1.5 percent in 2017," the Commission said.
Reducing emissions from transport is one of the biggest challenges for the EU, which wants to become climate-neutral by 2050 under the ambitious Green Deal strategy.
The Commission is considering even stricter goals for car pollution and an extension of the region's carbon market to cover road transport.
Reuters contributed to this report