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Brussels, 29 July 1998

Commission and ACEA agree on CO2 emissions from cars

The European Commission has adopted a communication on the future agreement with the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) on CO2 emissions from passenger cars. In the agreement, ACEA commits itself to achieve a target of 140 g/km CO2 emissions for the average of new cars sold in the European Union (EU) by 2008 representing a reduction of about 25%. The agreement is based on an ACEA Commitment on CO2 Emission Reductions from New Passenger Cars which was endorsed by the ACEA Board and which is annexed to the Communication. The Commission will endorse the agreement formally in a Recommendation to be adopted at a later stage. In the meantime, the agreement will be assessed in terms of its compatibility with EU competition law and the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers are invited to express their views. The Commission believes that the agreement is both satisfactory in terms of the EU's overall strategy on CO2 emissions from cars and takes account of the general criteria in the Commission's Communication on Environmental Agreements (COM(96) 561).

Content of the agreement

In the agreement, ACEA commits itself to achieving a CO2 target for the average of new cars sold in the EU of 140 g/km  as measured according to Directive 93/116/EC which sets out the Community measurement procedure by 2008, which is equivalent to a 25% cut as compared to 1995. In 2003, ACEA will review the potential for further reductions towards the EU's overall 120 g/km CO2 target for new cars by 2012. As an indicative intermediate target, ACEA estimates that it could achieve 165 - 170 g/km average emissions by 2003. Innovative vehicle concepts and vehicles running on alternative fuels will be counted towards ACEA's CO2 objective.

ACEA's commitments are based on certain assumptions as regards the availability of fuels of a sufficient quality to enable the application of certain technologies, based on the outcome of the Auto-Oil conciliation procedure between the Council and the Parliament on 29.6.1998; equivalent efforts by non-ACEA manufacturers; the unhampered diffusion of fuel-efficient technologies into the market; and any potential impact of the CO2 emission reduction efforts on the general economic situation of the industry to be taken into account in the monitoring of the agreement.

ACEA and the Commission have agreed to monitor jointly the implementation of the agreement, including the assumptions behind ACEA's commitments and other relevant factors, and the Commission will report annually to the Council and the Parliament on this basis. In this context, the Commission notes that it would look at making a legislative proposal should it become clear that ACEA has not honoured its commitments.

The Commission hopes also to conclude agreements on CO2 emissions from cars with the Japanese and Korean car manufacturers for their sales in the EU, and has begun negotiations with the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA).

In announcing the agreement, Environment Commissioner Ritt Bjerregaard said: "I am very pleased with this agreement which will contribute significantly to the EU's overall climate change objectives. It shows that one of the key sectors of the European industry is willing to contribute actively to our efforts to reduce CO2-emissions. Of course, together with ACEA, we will closely monitor progress made. In many ways, this is a test case for the wider use of environmental agreements as an instrument." Industry Commissioner Martin Bangemann added: "This agreement represents a landmark achievement. An agreement leaves the industry the necessary flexibility to achieve their target in the most cost-effective way, and so allows them to make a more ambitious commitment. ACEA has indeed shown ambition and vision in making their Commitment."


An agreement with the automotive industry is part of the EU's overall strategy to reduce CO2 emissions from passenger cars (COM(95) 689; Council conclusions of 25.6.1996). The other elements of this strategy are vehicle-related fiscal measures and fuel-economy labelling. The global objective of the strategy is to achieve a CO2 emissions figure of 120 g/km as the fleet average for all new cars sold by 2005, and at the latest 2010. Average CO2 emissions in 1995 were 186 g/km, and it can be seen that ACEA's 140 g/km target makes the major contribution to the achievement of the EU's overall objective. The other elements of the strategy can build on ACEA's commitments to still achieve the 120 g/km objective.

The Commission has already put forward a legislative proposal for a system to monitor the average CO2 emissions of passenger cars based on data to be provided by the Member States (COM(1998) 348). It intends to present a proposal for a directive for a consumer fuel-economy information scheme shortly.

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