Saturday, September 27, 2008

MEPs Reject Automakers Demands For Watered Down CO2 Targets

In a stunning turn of events last Thursday, MEPs in the European Parliament today voted to make carmakers play a much greater role in tackling climate change and rejected car industry attempts to weaken proposed legislation on the fuel efficiency of new cars.

With an overwhelming majority, the Parliament's Environment Committee endorsed the European Commission's proposal to cut average emissions from new cars to no more than 130g grammes of carbon dioxide per kilometre (gCO2/km) by 2012. Proposals to postpone the deadline to 2015 and to lower proposed penalties to be paid by car manufacturers were rejected. The Committee also said that average emissions in 2020 should be no more than 95g C02/km, subject to a review in 2014.

This is great news. The Committee has listened to the views of concerned citizens across Europe who overwhelmingly want tough action to make new cars more fuel-efficient and cut emissions. The low penalties and long deadlines the car industry wanted have been effectively trashed. Instead a new and overdue target of 95g Co2/km by 2020 has been agreed.

According to the Guardian, the CO2 emissions of cars make up about 14% of such emissions in Europe. The commission proposals are a key part of the overall climate-change package to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020 - proposals that need to be turned into law by the end of the year if the EU is to maintain its credibility as a world leader in the fight against global warming. The overall package has to be agreed by the commission, the parliament and the 27 EU governments, meaning there is now likely to be a showdown between Berlin and the parliament before Christmas.

The car industry must now focus its efforts on driving down emissions rather than self-interested lobbying.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Baby Dies as 4x4 Mounts Pavement

In a startling (yet unfortunately not uncommon) news story this week, a toddler in a pushchair was killed by a yummy mummy driving a 4x4 on the school run when she mounted the curb outside the school gates.

According to the article, "Fifteen-month-old Finlay Woods was out with his mother and grandmother when the black Toyota 4x4 crashed into his buggy, outside Selwyn junior and infant school in Chingford, north-east London, while parents gathered their children from school."

Parents tried in vain to lift the vehicle off the child, while others shielded school pupils from the distressing scene.

Witness Lee Rivers said: "I was one of about 15 people who tried to lift the car up to get the pushchair out from under it. But it was too heavy because it was a big 4x4."

Flowers were laid outside the school yesterday next to a smashed pillar and railings mangled in the crash. The mother was charged with causing death by dangerous driving, and driving while under the influence of drink or drugs.

4x4 Sales Plummet

According to a news piece by Reuters, "Uncertainty in oil prices and environmental concerns are denting the prestige of SUVs or 4x4s for city drivers in the UK. After a shock rise in oil to a record 147 U.S. dollars a barrel in mid-July, prices have recently dropped to a six-month low of less than $ 100 US dollars. With consumers increasingly switching to low emissions cars, it's uncertain whether the 4x4 market will win back customers."

Click this link to watch the Reuters video.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Tax 4x4s More, says Lib Dems

The Liberal Democrats have called for higher taxes on large 4x4s in order to help provide fiscal incentives for people purchasing smaller efficient cars.

According to Norman Baker, buyers would get £1,000 from the government when they drove new Band A cars — which include the VW Polo BlueMotion, the Seat Ibiza EcoMotion and electric vehicles which emit 100g per CO2/km or less.

Buying one of the Band B cars would come with a £500 feebate cheque and a lower annual VED tax of about £40 to £60. Band B cars include some types of Mini Cooper, the Citro├źn C1 and Fiat 500 diesel — all having a CO2/km of 101g to 120g.

The incentives to go green would be covered by higher tax levies on the highest polluting cars. A showroom tax of £500, alongside £2,000 a year VED, would be imposed on gas guzzlers in the new Band M such as some Range Rover and Toyota Land Cruiser models with emissions of over 255g per CO2/km.

Consumers Shun Expensive Gas Guzzlers

According to an article by Automotive News Europe, "sales volumes for large SUVs fell 44.4 percent. Sales of large cars and large minivans also dropped steeply."

"Large premium cars and premium SUVs also had double-digit declines in volume compared with the same period last year, according to an Automotive News Europe analysis of sales data from UK-based market researcher JATO Dynamics."

No thanks!
Big, thirsty vehicles had steep sales percentage declines in the first half
Large SUVs: -44.4
Large cars: -29.5
Large minivans: -21.7
Upper premium: -15.8
Premium SUVs: -14.6
Source: JATO Dynamics

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Vote for Less Polluting Cars

This is the time to take action for less polluting cars

The European Parliament is set to cast a decisive vote on 25 September 2008 on a bill to reduce the CO2 emissions and fuel consumption of new cars.

The Industry Committee voted on 01 September, producing an opinion which could significantly weaken this bill a great deal. Their vote is in stark contrast with public opinion, which seems to be common for governments these days.

A recent poll gathered from 5 member states, including the UK, showed that 87% of European citizens think measures to require carmakers to reduce the fuel consumption of new cars by 25% should be urgently introduced, and that Europeans consider climate change to be the second biggest serious problem (62%) facing the world, after poverty (68%).

It is extremely worrying and disappointing that the Industry Committee put the interests of the car industry over the people and the environment. Our conservative MEPs seem set to do the same. Both John Bowis (London) and Martin Callanan (NE) have written letters which show that they are more interested in protecting the industry then they are in pushing for better cars for car consumers using technology that is available now.

On 25 September the Environment Committee will cast a vote which will play an essential role in the final outcome of the bill.

Please tell your MEPs to vote for the people and the climate. And spread the news.

Vote for less polluting cars.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Jaguar and Land Rover Sales Down as Buyers Seek Efficient Cars

This news comes from ETA:

Fewer cars were sold in the month of August than at any time since 1966. The drop in sales has been especially hard on British-made luxury brands such as Aston Martin, Jaguar and Land Rover.

This time of year has traditionally been a strong time for new car sales because new registration plates were issued, but despite the fact the plates are now released in March and September and there is no longer a guaranteed peak in August, this year’s figures are particularly bad; overall sales are down 18.7 per cent on 2007.

Toyota and Land Rover have announced production cutbacks because of falls in orders and Britain’s automotive industry, which employs 815,000, is urging the government to drop interest rates to stimulate the market.

A spokesperson for the Environmental transport Association (ETA) said: “In the current economic conditions it’s quite understandable that people are unwilling to buy new cars, but it is the heavier, thirstier cars that are suffering particularly badly – smaller, greener, more frugal models are continuing to sell.”

The revised rates of emissions-based vehicle excise duty (road tax) has further harmed sales of larger, fuel inefficient cars.

To find the greenest cars, try the ETA's Car Buyers Guide

Wednesday, September 03, 2008