A recent analysis by Transport & Environment’s Car Decarbonisation Roadmap emphasises the critical role of the EU’s car CO2 standards, particularly the phase-out of combustion car sales by 2035, for achieving the proposed 2040 climate target.

The EU Commission aims to reduce the bloc’s total emissions by 90% in 2040 compared to 1990, and the roadmap outlines strategies to slash emissions from the EU’s car fleet by 86% in 2040 compared to 2015.

The key findings of T&E’s analysis include:

  1. Car CO2 standards agreed upon in 2023, will contribute to a 57% reduction in car fleet emissions by 2040 compared to 2015.
  2. Avoiding growth in car activity, achieved through measures such as halting new road construction, promoting public transport, and implementing fuel pricing, is expected to save an additional 14%.
  3. Scrapping old combustion engines and transitioning to electric cars and public transport will contribute to a 7% reduction.
  4. Faster electrification of company car fleets is projected to save 5%.
  5. Retrofitting combustion engines to become battery electric cars is estimated to save 4%.

Lucien Mathieu, the cars director at T&E, emphasised the significance of maintaining the phase-out of combustion engines, said: “No measure will be enough on its own. Avoiding additional road traffic, scrapping old petrol and diesel cars, and electrifying company cars are all needed to bring down emissions from the car fleet.”

The report suggests that alternative fuels like e-fuels are unnecessary for reducing CO2 emissions from the existing car fleet. Running cars on e-petrol is identified as the most expensive option, with e-fuels having the highest lifecycle emissions among the analysed measures, emitting air pollution when burned.

T&E advocates for focusing on clean solutions accessible to all, including drivers who rely on cars, instead of pursuing combustion car-based alternatives that may make mobility unaffordable.

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