CO2 emissions from new cars drop by 3%

Europeans are buying more efficient cars, according to the latest provisional figures published by the European Environment Agency, writes Caelia Quinault.


Carbon dioxide emissions from new cars in Europe fell by 3% in 2011, according to provisional figures released this week (June 20).

According to the European Environment Agency (EEA), there were 12.8 million new cars registered in the EU in 2011, producing an average of 135.7 grams CO2 per kilometre. This  is 4.6g CO2/km less than in 2010 — a reduction of 3.3 %.

Europeans are increasingly buying cars such as the Toyota Prius which produce fewer emissions

A combination of changes in buying behaviour, improved technology and engine efficiency is thought to be responsible for the reduction.

The data was hailed by climate action commissioner Connie Hedegaard as evidence of ‘steady progress’ in CO2 reducing emissions from new cars.

She said: “Europe’s car manufacturers are delivering towards the 2015 CO2 targets. These data confirm that there’s steady progress in improving fuel efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions from new cars. This is a good sign for the capacity of Europe’s car industry to innovate and thus maintain global competitiveness while making their products more efficient.”


In the EU, CO2 emissions from road transport have increased by 23 % since 1990, and are now responsible for approximately one fifth of the EU’s total emissions.

In order to cut greenhouse gas emissions from transport, carmakers have a collective target for the average car sold in the EU to emit a maximum of 130g CO2/km by 2015 and 95g CO2/km by 2020. 2011 is the last year before the CO2 targets start to be phased in from 2012.

The EEA collects Member States’ data on passenger cars registrations, in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 443/2009, and collates them in a database which covers 99.95% of total registrations.

Data collected includes information on CO2 emissions and the mass of the vehicles.

According to Article 8 of Regulation (EC) No 443/2009, Member States must annually submit information to the Commission for each new passenger car registered on their territory. Five Member States were late in submitting their 2011 data. A small number of Member States also have data quality issues that need to be addressed for next year’s data monitoring exercise. The EEA has however noted clear improvements in data submissions for a number of Member States.

The latest dataset is provisional and will be verified by car manufacturers during a three months period to ensure that targets are set on the basis of correct data. The Commission will confirm the final data later in 2012, taking into account any errors notified by manufacturers.

Related Links

European Environment Agency database


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