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Brussels, 15 December 2010

Connie Hedegaard, Commissioner for Climate Action, welcomes agreement to cut emissions from vans

Today, the EU takes a new step towards limiting the pollution from vans. The European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission reached an informal agreement on the Commission's proposal setting CO2 emission standards for light commercial vehicles (vans). It still requires formal approval. This proposal is a follow-up of the regulation setting CO2 emission standards for passenger cars (Regulation 443/2009) and is one of the last outstanding measures announced in the EU Strategy to reduce CO2 emissions from light-duty vehicles (Communication COM(2007) 19).

Connie Hedegaard, Commissioner for Climate Action, said: "I welcome the agreement reached with the Council and the European Parliament to set EU emission standards for vans. The agreed Regulation will make vans less polluting and will contribute to our overall ambition to cut emissions from transport. With the agreed 2020 target, it will stimulate innovation in industry, enabling manufacturers to take full advantage of the transition to a low-carbon economy. It will also generate important fuel-savings for consumers. The agreement in first reading will allow the proposal made by the Commission in 2009 to be rapidly adopted and provide certainty for industry."

Details of the agreement

The European Parliament and the Council agreed to delay full introduction of the short-term target of 175 g/km to 2017 which is one year later than proposed by the Commission. The EU co-legislators also agreed to adjust the ambition of the 2020 target by increasing it from 135 g/km to 147 g/km. This long-term target has to be confirmed at the time of the regulation's review scheduled for 2013. Manufacturers that exceed the targets will pay a fine of €95 per g/km, as was imposed on passenger car manufacturers as well. Finally, the super-credit scheme incentivising low-emitting vehicles, in practice electric and plug-in hybrid vans, was prolonged by 2 years. However, in order to prevent the scheme from undermining the environmental integrity of the legislation, the number of vehicles for which the manufacturer can claim the credit will be limited to 25 000 over the period of the duration of the scheme.

Background information

The vehicles affected by the legislation are vans, which account for around 12% of the market for light-duty vehicles (passenger cars and vans). This includes vehicles used to carry goods weighing up to 3.5t (vans and car-derived vans, known as N1) and which weigh less than 2610 kg when empty. These vehicles are responsible for around 1.5% of EU total CO2 emissions.

The emissions limits are set according to the mass of vehicle, using a limit value curve. The curve is set in such a way that a fleet average of 175 grams of CO2 per kilometre is achieved. A so-called limit value curve of 100% implies that heavier vans are allowed higher emissions than lighter vans while preserving the overall fleet average. Only the fleet average is regulated, so manufacturers will still be able to make vehicles with emissions above the limit value curve provided these are balanced by other vehicles which are below the curve. The modalities of reaching a 2020 target will be defined at the time of review in 2013.

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