Europe’s car makers call for more scrappage schemes to tackle emissions

Average vehicle age in the EU is now 10-years-old and rising

Europe’s car makers are saying that they have done more to reduce emissions than any other single sector.

They are also calling for another round of “scrappage” schemes to encourage motorists to trade-in for newer, cleaner vehicles.

In a statement issued at the COP21 climate change talks in Paris, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA), the umbrella group which represents the European car industry, points out that new cars make up only around three per cent of the EU’s car park, and that the average vehicle age in the EU is now 10-years-old and rising. The ACEA suggests that a further 30 per cent reduction in fleet emissions could be achieved simply by getting drivers into newer cars.

The powerful lobby group said that “last year, average new car CO2 emissions were 33.7 per cent lower than two decades ago; by 2021, CO2 emissions from new cars will be almost 42 per cent lower than in 2005.”


The ACEA's position is that Europe, and specifically the car industry, has done its bit, a claim it backed up with figures from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's (OECD). These show that Europe's emissions fell by 22 per cent between 1990-2010, while in every other global area, they have risen. According to the OECD, China's emissions have risen by 95 per cent in the same period.

“Europe’s automobile manufacturers have been driving down greenhouse gas emissions by developing ever-more fuel-efficient vehicles. Even when faced with flat or declining sales during recent crisis years, the EU automobile sector has delivered huge environmental improvements, and will continue to do so” said the ACEA.

“The European automobile and parts industry is the continent’s number one investor in R&D, spending €41.5 billion on innovation each year. As a result, the average new car coming on to the road in 2021 will produce 42 per cent less CO2 per km than a new car bought in 2005. No other industry has done as much as Europe’s automotive sector to drive down CO2 emissions in recent years.”

The ACEA goes on to say that it is, according to its figures, doing far more to achieve emissions reductions than other transport sectors, such as aviation and shipping. The lobby group is calling on EU and world governments to establish a common international framework for the future of vehicle CO2 emissions regulation, saying that a failure to do so will cost both jobs and investment.

Neil Briscoe

Neil Briscoe

Neil Briscoe, a contributor to The Irish Times, specialises in motoring