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Climate Action
News article20 June 2012Directorate-General for Climate Action

CO2 emissions from new cars down by 3% in 2011

Europeans are buying more efficient cars. Average carbon dioxide emissions from cars continue to fall in Europe, according to preliminary figures released today.


Europeans are buying more efficient cars. Average carbon dioxide emissions from cars continue to fall in Europe, according to preliminary figures released today.

Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said: "Europe's car manufacturers are delivering towards the 2015 CO2 targets. These data confirm that there's steady progress in improving fuel efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions from new cars. This is a good sign for the capacity of Europe's car industry to innovate and thus maintain global competitiveness while making their products more efficient."

The European Environment Agency today published provisional data on average CO2 emissions from new passenger cars registered in 2011. There were 12.8 million new cars registered in the EU in 2011. The average CO2 emissions from these cars were 135.7 grams CO2 per kilometre, which is 4.6g CO2/km less than in 2010 – a reduction of 3.3 %.

2011 is the last year before the CO2 targets become binding. The phase-in of the mandatory target of 130gCO2/km to be met in 2015 will start on the basis of the data for 2012.

According to EEA analysis, a combination of changes in buying behaviour, improved technology and engine efficiency was mostly responsible for this reduction.

Car manufacturers will now be asked to verify these preliminary figures before they are confirmed by the Commission later this year.


In the EU, CO2 emissions from road transport have increased by 23 % since 1990, and are now responsible for approximately one fifth of the EU's total emissions.

In order to cut greenhouse gas emissions from transport, carmakers have a collective target for the average car sold in the EU to emit a maximum of 130g CO2/km by 2015 and 95g CO2/km by 2020.

The EEA collects Member States’ data on passenger cars registrations, in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 443/2009, and collates them in a database which covers 99.95% of total registrations.

Data collected includes information on CO2 emissions and the mass of the vehicles, reported by all Member States in order to evaluate the performance of the new vehicle fleet towards the CO2 emission target (130g CO2/km by 2015, to be phased-in from 2012).

According to Article 8 of Regulation (EC) No 443/2009, Member States must annually submit information to the Commission for each new passenger car registered on their territory. Five Member States were late in submitting their 2011 data. A small number of Member States also have data quality issues that need to be addressed for next year's data monitoring exercise. The EEA has however noted clear improvements in data submissions for a number of Member States.

This dataset is provisional and will be verified by car manufacturers during a three months period to ensure that targets are set on the basis of correct data. The Commission will confirm the final data later in 2012, taking into account any errors notified by manufacturers.

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Publication date
20 June 2012
Directorate-General for Climate Action