The European car industry is going to be heavily impacted by regulations on pollution limitations and tensions are rising between German manufacturers on one side and the French and Italian car industry on the other. Reason? German cars are much heavier than those made by the French and the Italians and the Germans fear that they will be penalized by new pollution regulations.
New cars by 2012 can only emit 120 grams of CO2 per kilometer at max. Most European cars average 160 grams per kilometer at the moment. The new rules are expected to transform the look and feel of all European cars. Even the smallest and most energy efficient cars are required to undergo design changes so the sector as a whole can reach the new goals.
EU policy makers have said that that the new regulations won’t alter established competition patterns. But Germans have a hard time believing this. The European Commission is considering sanctions for car makers who fail to reach the limits, in the range of ‚Ç¨20 per extra gram of CO2 per car sold. This amount is set to rise to ‚Ç¨95 by 2015. The top European environment policy maker, Stavros Dimas, has hinted last month in a German newspaper that manufacturers of bigger, heavier cars are going to be subject to less stringent rules than manufacturers of lighter cars if the car industry as a whole achieves the new EU emission levels. But whether that is realistic remains to be seen.
Unlike in the US, only 20% of all cars on the road in Europe are bigger in size. 60% of all cars in Europe are medium sized and 20% is small. There are worries throughout Europe that the new regulations are going to cause a shockwave and several politicians have called for a delay of three years.
But that is not on the cards. Instead the Europeans will at country level have to come up with the creativity to achieve the new targets. The EU politicians delivered the policy package recently because they say the sector itself did too little to combat CO2 emission levels.
Even though the changes are set to dramatically alter the European car landscape as a result of the draconian targets, Brussels wants to cut back more after 2012. Then the target will be limited to a 95 grams of carbon per kilometer. It’s not impossible to achieve on these goals, so long as the focus is on eco issues. Between 1995 and 2005, the European car industry has reduced its CO2 emission levels as much as 40g/km. But since 2005, around 15 grams of those reductions were lost due to more stringent security demands which resulted in heavier and bigger cars. Consumers in Europe are only slowly becoming enthusiastic about environmentally friendly cars.
Among the worst polluting cars are heavyweights such as BMWs, Mercedesses and Porches. A Porsche emits around 297 gram per kilometer. Top of the range cars owned by the rich and famous are however a tad worse. In a recent ranking of celebrity polluters, Simon Cowell scored first place by averaging CO2 emission levels of 457g/km due to possession of a Bugatti Veyron, a Farrari F430 and a Rolls-Royce Phantom. Justin Timberlake averaged 287g/km. He owns an Audi TT, a Jeep Wrangler and a Range Rover. He scored tenth on the list of celebrity polluters. The picture shows him with his Audi TT, which runs on eco fuel.