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World Toughest CO2 Emission Targets

When it comes to tough CO2 emissions, we trail other countries and Europe is again reviewing tougher mandates, effectively becoming the world’s toughest CO2 emission continent.

The dynamics are different in Asia, Europe and the US. While Europe imposes tough taxes on gasoline at the pump, we are fairly lax with ours. While we are not facing yet the petroleum shortage problem and critical pollution levels, what are we doing to curb our CO2 appetite?

The Boys Outside. Strangely enough, our carmakers have economical cars outside the US. But unfortunately, not all are available here. Ford understood this and started using the smaller European engine, slapping on direct-injection and turbo compressing them for more efficiency. Calling this line the EcoBoost worked so well, a V6 now replaces a naturally aspirated V8 with less consumption and the same, if not better horsepower. The same thing applies to its 4 cylinders that replace naturally aspirated V6. GM also has a frugal Cruze and the nice looking Sonic sedan, all with its EcoTec engines.

Europe Goes Even Further. The new proposed emission curbs down previous tough standards to an even lower level. The European Commission proposed a further cut the average carbon dioxide, CO2 emissions for new cars and vans by 2020 to 95 grams of CO2 per kilometer (gCO2/km) in 2020 compared to no more than 135.7 gCO2/km, with a mandatory target of 130 gCO2/km in 2015. This proposal moves the EU closer to its goal of lowering overall greenhouse gas emissions to 20% below 1990 levels by 2020. All of this will happen in increment in Europe, 65% of the fleet should be compliant by 2012, 75% in 2013, 80% in 2014 and finally everything by 2015.

In comparison, our latest standards proposed would apply to passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and medium- duty passenger vehicles, covering model years 2017 through 2025. The proposed standards would require on an average industry fleet wide basis – that is all passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and medium duty passenger vehicles, including all SUVs 163 grams/mile of CO2 in model year 2025, the equivalent to 54.5 mpg if the vehicles were to meet this CO2 level all through fuel economy improvements. All of this is hoping carmakers won’t sue the agencies as they have done in the past.

Here is the equation to help you with the calculations:

CO2 g/km 100 = in gasoline is 56.0 mpg, and in diesel 61.9 mpg.

A few more miles per gallon might not seem like a big deal but manufacturers here and overseas have to deal with different travel needs. We have to take into consideration longer drives due to the extent of our country whereas European travel less. The big difference is that Europe is acting quickly while we hope for better average by 2025. All in all, it’s interesting to see how aggressively Europe is pursuing the reduction of its CO2 emission.


Aaron Turpen    July 18, 2012 - 2:34PM

Since CO2 doesn't mean anything, I don't see why we're bothering controlling it. No climate models have successfully predicted CO2-based warming, historical charts linking CO2 to warming have been seriously questioned, and there's no actual "consensus" on AGW. So controlling CO2 emissions is nothing more than politics.