Coming: Limit on CO2 from Vans

The European Parliament’s Environment Committee has backed the Commission’s proposal to reduce CO2 emissions from light commercial vehicles to 175 g CO2/km by 2016 during an exchange of views in March. However, the Rapporteur (the author of Parliament’s Report on the proposal), Martin Callanan, did question the feasibility of the Commission’s ambitious target for reducing CO2/km emissions from light commercial vehicles to 135g by 2020. Mr Callanan (ECR, UK) asked the Commission to provide justification for this target.
During the Environment Committee’s exchange of views on the Commission’s proposal for a Regulation on emission performance standards for new light commercial vehicles and minibuses, the Rapporteur also expressed support for the proposed derogation for small manufacturers as well as the idea of supercredits for eco-innovation.  Anja Weisgerber (EPP, Germany) said that she would also like more incentives to be given to manufactures in order to create eco innovation and supercredits. But Matthias Groote (S&D, Germany) said that he would like the Committee’s Report to be more ambitious and set even higher targets.
Holger Krahmer (ALDE, Germany) questioned the timeline proposed by the Commission. He said that the 2020 deadline is not 'long term', taking into account the production cycle of cars. On the other hand, Bas Eickhout (Greens, Netherlands) wanted Mr Callanan’s Report to have binding strict CO2 standards. In his opinion, the target is not too strict and in fact should be even more ambitious. Chris Davies (ALDE, UK) is also for raising the targets because, according to him, 175g CO2/km is easy to achieve and many manufactures have already done this. He wants a reduction to 165g CO2/km by 2016.
Satu Hassi (Greens, Finland) said that the key issue is to set a clear timeline and properly binding limits. In her opinion, strict targets are the best way to encourage technology. The Commission representative said that 125g CO2/km would be too expensive but that 135CO2/km is feasible. She emphasised the fact that the van market is different than the car market and that it is impossible to apply exactly the same demands. Many MEPs asked for a speed limitation to be laid down and the Commission answered that there is a reference to speed limit in the proposal. The Rapporteur wound-up by saying that MEPs need to look at the affordability of the vehicles, and that he is in favour of incentives rather than fees. 

The Commission Proposal

The Commission adopted this proposal for a Regulation on emission performance standards for new light commercial vehicles and minibuses on 28 October 2009. The Regulation would establish emission targets for new light commercial vehicles, and is also intended to create incentives for the automotive industry to invest in new, cleaner technologies. This will be the first EU-level legislation regulating CO2 emissions from this vehicle class.
 This proposal focuses on light commercial vehicles, which currently make up around 12% of the EU’s road transport fleet. Light commercial vehicles are mainly used by business, including small and medium enterprises. The Commission believes that while light commercial vehicles play a vital role in the economy, technical progress has been too slow. Reductions in CO2 emissions have, as a result, not been sufficient to meet the EU’s emissions reduction objectives.

Aim of the Proposal

The proposal’s objective is to reduce the average CO2 emissions from light commercial vehicles to 175g CO2/km by 2016. The proposal also sets a target of 135g CO2/km by 2020. The proposal applies to new light commercial vehicles of category N1 (vehicles used for the carriage of goods) with an overall weight that does not exceed 2610KG.

Specific Emissions Targets

As of 2014, each manufacturer of light commercial vehicles must ensure annually that the average CO2 emissions of its fleet do not exceed the targets (175g CO2/km by 2016, 135g CO2/km by 2020). The Commission proposes two different formulae, which are set out in Annex I, for calculating these targets. The first formula applies from 2014 to 2017, while the second applies from 2018.
Furthermore, in order to determine specific CO2 emissions, the following percentages of each manufacturer’s new light commercial vehicles registered in the relevant year will be taken into account: 75% in 2014; 80% in 2015; and 100% from 2016.
Super credits will also be made available to manufacturers in order to encourage technological development. This means that, in calculating the average specific emissions of CO2, each new light commercial vehicle with specific emissions of CO2 of less than 50 g CO2/km will be counted as 2.5 light commercial vehicles in 2014; 1.5 light commercial vehicles in 2015; and 1 light commercial vehicle from 2016.


A manufacturer may obtain derogations from the specific emissions target if it has fewer than 22,000 new light commercial vehicles registered in EU per calendar year and if: 1. The manufacturer is not part of a group of connected manufacturers; 2. The manufacturer is part of a group of connected manufacturers that in total is responsible for fewer than 22 000 new light commercial vehicles registered in EU per calendar year.


Manufacturers may form a pool in order to meet their targets. Where two or more manufacturers form a pool, the pool will be treated as if it is one manufacturer in order to determine its compliance with the targets. An agreement to form a pool may relate to one or more calendar years. In order to form a pool, manufacturers must send the following information to the European Commission: 1.The manufactures which are going to be included in the pool. 2. The manufacture nominated as a pool manager. 3. Evidence that the pool manager is able to fulfil its obligations


The proposal also includes provisions to promote eco-innovations. Under this provision up to 7 g/km can be deducted from the average of the manufacturer’s specific CO2 emissions for innovative technologies which reduce emissions, based on independently verified data. The European Commission will adopt detailed provisions regarding the procedure in order to approve innovative technologies.