The escape from the diesel cars has led to an increase in sales of new petrol-driven cars, which also increases emissions, shows new figures from the EU.
On average, emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) from new cars have increased in 2017, after a continuous decline since 2010, figures from the EU environmental authority show the EEA.
Emissions have increased from 118.1 grams of CO2 per kilometer to 118.5 grams, after having fallen from over 140 grams of CO2 between 2010 and 2016.
It is assumed that this is the main reason for the increased share of petrol cars sold. Sales have risen sharply and accounted for more than half of new cars sold (52.6 per cent), the highest share since 2003.
Petrol cars tend to have higher CO2 emissions than diesel cars.
– The emission increase is no surprise, considering that it is the first time since 2010 that petrol car sales exceeded the diesel car sales. If one compares the car segments, petrol cars release between 10 and 40 per cent more CO2 than the diesel cars, says Erik Jonnaert, Secretary General of the Association of European Car Manufacturers (ACEA) in a press release.
Diesel case, also in Norway
Following the so-called “dieselgate” scandal in 2016, where several car manufacturers cheated on the emission tests, the diesel cars came under the magnifying glass. Several European cities choose to ban older diesel cars due to local pollution due to emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), despite lower CO2 emissions. The argument used to impose a ban is to improve the health of local residents.
Overall, the emission scandal and new bans have led to the diesel car sales starting to plunge. Most diesel skeptics have bought petrol cars instead. The share of electric cars sold or hybrid cars has increased to a much lesser extent, from 1 percent to 1.5 percent. The petrol share increased from 47.3 to 52.6.
Norway is in a class of its own. The electric car and hybrid share of new car sales in 2017 was 52 per cent. But Norway has also experienced a sharp fall in sales of diesel cars, from 30.8 per cent in 2016, to 23.1 per cent in 2017 and appears to land at 17.8 per cent in 2018, according to the Norwegian Road Traffic Information Authority.
Needs 20-fold charging stations in the EU
The EU’s latest emission target for the car manufacturers’ fleet is 95 grams in 2021. This is equivalent to an emission of approximately 4.1 liters per 100 kilometers for petrol and 3.6 liters per 100 kilometers for diesel. If they fail, they will be subject to a penalty of EUR 95 per gram per car sold.
Jonnaert seems skeptical about whether the goals are reached, considering that less than two percent of the new car sales are cars that can be recharged, ie electric cars and hybrid cars.
– All manufacturers invest heavily in cars with alternative driving force, but the reality is that consumers do not exactly run down the store to buy these cars in large volumes, says Jonnaert.
He points out that there are 150,000 charging stations in the EU, while at least 2.8 million are needed to have any hope of reaching the emission targets.