EU to tighten auto emission standards

The European Union has proposed tougher car emission targets for carmakers in order to boost low-emission car production, including a fine system for exceeding carbon dioxide limits.

The EU’s proposed on Wednesday a 30 per cent reduction carbon-dioxide emissions cars and vans by 2030 compared with 2021 levels. It also sets a provisional goal of a 15 per cent reduction by 2025 to help ensure automakers start investments early.

The EU’s eagerness for legislation to accelerate the development of electric vehicles stems from the need to stay ahead of the times and not fall behind the likes of China, Japan and the United States.

“The competition is here,” Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic said, citing the use of Chinese electric cars by Brussels taxis firms. “The car was invented in Europe and I believe it should be reinvented here.”

If carmakers breach the new rules, they face impending fines in the millions, with penalties fixed at 95 euros for every gram of CO2 above the limit and for each new vehicle registered in that year.

Inspired by Californian climate policy, the draft bill would allow carmakers to offset their overall target if the share of zero and low-emission vehicles in their fleet surpasses a benchmark set by regulators.

Naturally the plan faces criticism from countries with large automotive industries. German foreign minister, Sigmar Gabriel, warned on Tuesday that stricter emissions rules could cost growth and jobs.

“The current proposal is very aggressive when we consider the low and fragmented market penetration of alternatively-powered vehicles across Europe,” Erik Jonnaert, ACEA secretary general, said in a statement.

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