The European Commission has proposed tough legislation to force down emissions of carbon dioxide from cars, backed by fines on manufacturers that fail to comply, starting in 2012.
Makers of heavier vehicles would be required to make bigger cuts than those of lighter cars. Germany is furious. But EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said there was little alternative:
“If the European Union is to meet its ambitious targets of reducing emissions of green house gases, the reduction burden must be shared in a fair manner. All sectors must do their part, including the road transport sector. Otherwise other sectors have to do more.”
Of the binding 120 grammes per kilometer target, an average of 130 must be achieved from improved engine technology and the rest through
biofuels, gears, tyres and air-conditioning.
German producers of heavier luxury vehicles such as BMW, Porsche and Mercedes could face billions of euros in fines unless they change course fast. German Chancellor Angela Merkel explained her displeasure: “We do not believe that the path chosen is economically favourable. It contradicts the Commission’s own conclusions and recommendations. We think this is pursuing an industrial policy at Germany’s and its auto industry’s expense. That’s why we’re not pleased with the result.”
Fines on companies for non-compliance – for each new car sold in Europe – will start at 20 euros per excess gramme per kilometer in 2012 on average, and rise to 95 euros g/km in 2015.
Proponents of the plan, however, point out that makers of heavier cars will be able to buy emissions credits from producers whose
fleet is below the limit.