New car emissions to be cut

Jun 10, 2012 | Energy and Carbon, Environment, News | 0 comments

Proposals to make significant cuts to emissions from new cars have been leaked. The EC wants to limit the average emissions of vehicles sold in 2020 to 95 grams of CO2 per kilometre travelled. It is currently about 140g CO2/km and there is already a binding limit of 130g CO2/km set for 2015.

Emissions cuts are to be welcomed, not just to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but for health reasons. Exhaust emissions can lead to respiratory ailments and this is reason enough to take action.

Many authorities claim that the only way to meet these targets is to adopt all-electric or hybrid cars. Voluntary early adoption of these vehicle types will help reduce air pollution and incentives can help increase adoption. However, the government must ensure that any incentive schemes to increase ownership of such vehicles are properly thought out. The previous scheme to encourage the adoption of bio-ethanol fuelled cars was disastrous. The incentive was good with tax rebates, however, after a few years the subsidy on bio-ethanol production was stopped with the result no more fuel was available. This left owners with cars that, whilst they could run on petrol, are overly complicated with higher maintenance costs than a conventional petrol engined car.

Environmental Efficiency were the first purchases of bio-ethanol cars in Co. Wicklow, but given the way bio-ethanol production was stopped some years latter, we would be very sceptical about participating in any future vehicle incentive. For example, we have all seen the ESB car charging points springing up around our towns. If we buy an electric car what guarantee have we that they will continue to be maintained.