Brussels has agreed tighter 2030 carbon dioxide targets for cars and vans, an important contribution to help the bloc meet its commitments under the Paris climate accord.
Representatives the European Parliament, commission and member states agreed late on Monday evening after weeks of negotiations.
The rules require that new cars sold in 2030 will need to emit 37.5 per cent less CO2 on average, compared to 2021 levels; vans emissions will need to fall by 31 per cent.
Parliament representative Miriam Dalli fought to include fuel consumption monitoring from 2030 to detect gaps between real-world performance and testing regimes.
The rules also offer incentives for zero- and low-emission vehicles and are expected to accelerate the EU’s shift to electric vehicles.
Campaigners welcomed the targets though argued they did not do enough.
The new rules are “a good deal for citizens: reducing fuel costs for drivers, creating over 200,000 jobs and reducing our dependence on imported oil,” said Greg Archer, clean vehicles director at campaigner Transport & Environment.
Mr Archer said the 2030 target was “progress but it’s not fast enough to hit our climate goals.”
The EU promised to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent by 2030 as part of its Paris commitments. Reducing vehicle emissions is a crucial part of meeting that goal — transport represents nearly one quarter of the bloc’s CO2 emissions and is the only sector that has continued to grow.
However, European auto industry association ACEA said the new 2030 targets were ”totally unrealistic”, warned that they put jobs at risk and called on member states to invest in charging infrastructure for electric vehicles.
Germany and a handful of central and eastern European states had sought to ease the burden on their domestic automotive industry and are also concerned that more stringent rules would make vehicles unaffordable to some of their citizens.
However France, Spain and Sweden — who also host large carmakers — have argued stricter rules would help the sector maintain its global competitiveness.
Monday’s agreement was “another credible step in the implementation of the Paris Agreement but also another decisive step in support of the long-term competitiveness of European industry,” said Vice-President for the Energy Union, Maroš Šefčovič.