Ford-vanCO2 emissions from vans have already dipped beneath a target average figure set for 2017 – but one campaign group is criticising the targets rather than praising the van manufacturers.

Transport & Environment says the 175g/km CO2 target is too weak, after official EC figures revealed average CO2 emissions for vans sold in 2013 was 173.3g/km. The 2017 target was agreed in 2010 and T&E senior policy officer says the latest average CO2 figures “confirm what we’ve said since 2010: the vans target is a joke.

“This regulation is not delivering lower fuel costs for businesses, it’s not driving the supply of ultra clean urban delivery vehicles and does little or nothing to offset emissions from increasing traffic.”

T&E says an additional vans CO2 target of 147g/km by 2020 requires an improvement of 15%, “significantly less than the 25% improvement the EU required for its passenger cars”. The campaign group points to a study carried out in 2012 that says a target equivalent to the 2020 goal of 95g/km for cars should be 118g/km for vans.

The European Commission is reportedly looking at a 2025 target between 105-120g/km CO2.

Despite the improvements in van CO2 emissions, T&E says they are “one of the fastest growing sources of CO2 emitted from transport in Europe”. Van CO2 emissions increased by 26% between 1995-2010, it says; vans account for 8% of EU road transport emissions. But as van manufacturers step up the rate of CO2 reductions, how long before that figure starts to decline again?