Climate Action: CO2 emissions from new cars fell in 2020 as zero- and low-emission vehicle sales tripled

Final monitoring data published yesterday by the European Environment Agency confirms that average CO2 emissions of new cars registered in the EU, Iceland, Norway and the United Kingdom in 2020 decreased by 12% compared with 2019 levels. This is by far the greatest annual decrease in emissions since CO2 standards started to apply in 2010, and coincides with the phase in of stricter EU-fleet wide CO2 emissions standards for cars as of January 1, 2020. For the period 2020-2024, the Regulation sets the EU fleet-wide CO2 emission targets at 95 gCO2/km for newly registered cars and at 147g CO2/km for newly registered vans, giving a strong incentive for manufacturers to produce cleaner vehicles. The surge in the share of electric vehicle registrations was a major factor, with sales tripled from 3.5% in 2019 to 11.6% in 2020. Targeted recovery measures put in place by Member States also stimulated the uptake of zero- and low-emission vehicles and investments in recharging infrastructure. Despite the shrinking overall market for new cars in 2020 due to COVID-19, the total number of new electric cars increased, reaching over 1 million for the first time. The final data shows that European legislation on CO2 emissions standards continues to be an effective tool for reducing CO2 emissions from cars and vans. Most manufacturers complied with their emission targets, but today’s final data confirms that over €500 million will be collected from manufacturers found to have exceeded their emissions target in 2020. A further revision of the CO2 emissions standards to align them with the EU’s higher climate ambitions is part of the Commission’s Fit for 55 proposals presented in July 2021. You can find more here.