Car manufacturers have been given a new target for CO2 emissions, and must bring the European average down to 95g/km by 2020.
The European Commission has announced the new proposals, which are significantly lower than the 130g/km mandatory target that manufacturers have to hit by 2015. A new target for vans has also been set at 147g/km in 2020, with an interim target of 175g/km in 2017.
'This is one more important step towards a competitive, low-carbon economy,' said Connie Hedegaard, EU commissioner for climate action.
Lower CO2 targets are due in the future: Hedegaard said: 'More CO2 reductions beyond 2020 need to be prepared and these will be considered in consultation with stakeholders.'
The UK car industry will find the new targets tough, and a spokesman for the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said that it would not be possible to fulfil the goals without assistance.
'The targets are challenging and will require significant investment to accelerate the uptake of low-CO2 cars,' said the spokesman.
'It will require greater uptake of electric and range-extender vehicles. The industry can do only so much in terms of technology, but it needs government support. There is a certain amount being done already, and that needs to be maintained. The choice of low-CO2 cars also needs to be incentivised through the VED (road tax) bands as well.'
The average CO2 emissions across Europe were 135.7g/km in 2011; they were slightly higher in the UK, at 138g/km.
The 130g/km and 95g/km figures are averages, and not every car maker has to hit this target. Instead, they each receive an individual target that is calculated on the weight of the cars they produce. Accordingly, Fiat, which produces a high number of city cars, has a 2015 target of 119g/km, while Jaguar, with its largely executive line-up, has a target of 178g/km.
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