CO2 Emissions

Petrol and diesel ban is needed by 2030 to meet global warming targets

CO2 Emissions 2030

A report by the Guardian newspaper reveals how climate change targets set in the Paris agreement will only be met if oil-burning cars are banned by 2030 – 10 years sooner than the government’s 2040 target. Countries including India, Germany and the Netherlands have already set their targets for 2030.

The target is less of a go-to number and more of a global warming limit – set as a maximum of 1.5 degrees centigrade above pre-industrial levels by 2100.

To put the issue into perspective, a study by the German Aerospace Centre (DLR), cited by the Guardian, claims a 2030 petrol and diesel car ban would be required for a little over 50 percent chance of not exceeding this maximum temperature change.

On the way to that, the number of oil-burning cars sold by 2022 would need to be as low as five million, versus 15 million sold this year. The study imagines that the last oil-burning car would be sold in 2028, and that they’d be fully legislated off the roads by 2040.

CO2 Emissions 2030

“Auto CO2-emissions need to peak as soon as possible,” said Professor Horst Friedrich, director of the DLR.

“Looking at the dwindling carbon budget, it is crucial to push low-emitting cars into the market – the earlier the better, to renew the fleet.”

We think the 2030 target seems unrealistic, barring an extreme hike in the offering and uptake of low- and zero-emissions vehicles. The rate of change is difficult to predict and, truthfully, out of the control of both manufacturers and legislators. It’s down to the former to offer products that appeal to the masses and the latter to install and upgrade infrastructure to suit.

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CO2 champions: best cars for real-world emissions

CO2 champions: best cars for real-world CO2 emissions

CO2 champions: best cars for real-world emissionsNo matter how impressive a car’s claimed CO2 figures are, the planet won’t be saved if they’re not actually achievable in the real world. That’s exactly what Volkswagen tried to circumvent with its emissions-cheating defeat device, and is now paying many billions as the price for this subterfuge.

British company Emissions Analytics has thus developed a new set of tests that aim to showcase the actual on-road emissions of Britain’s cars.

We’ve already exposed the worst performers, but it seems only fair to also showcase the best of the best – the brand with the lowest real-world CO2, and those with the least variance from official figures: the ‘honesty factor’, if you like. First, then, it’s the best performers. Which car companies emit the lowest levels of CO2?

10: DaciaCO2 champions: best cars for real-world emissions

Don’t want to spend much on a new car but still want to put out manageable levels of CO2 in the real world? Choose Dacia, whose range emits an average of 171g/km in real-world tests.

9: Alfa RomeoCO2 champions: best cars for real-world emissions

Want something a bit sportier and more emotive? Try Alfa Romeo, whose range emits 169g/km in real-world tests. This is helped by it only selling two relatively compact cars – how will the launch of the new Giulia affect things?

8: FiatCO2 champions: best cars for real-world emissions

Fiat is the volume sister company to Alfa Romeo. Its range, surprisingly, emits the same 169g/km CO2 figure in the real world, but it gets the nod over the premium brand here because the variance from claimed figures is less.

7: SkodaCO2 champions: best cars for real-world emissions

Skoda is a brand that trades on practicality and spaciousness. So it’s good to learn picking one of its practical cars won’t hurt your real-world CO2 emissions. It’s the seventh-best brand in the UK here.

6: MazdaCO2 champions: best cars for real-world emissions

Mazda may sell lots of sporty MX-5 roadsters, but that doesn’t mean its range-average CO2 emissions suffer in the real world. On average, Mazda cars emit 168g/km CO2.

5: SeatCO2 champions: best cars for real-world emissions

Seat is the sporty sibling of Skoda and its range of cars emit slightly less CO2, on average. The variance is a little higher over official figures, though.

4: PeugeotCO2 champions: best cars for real-world emissions

Peugeot has been working hard on cutting CO2 emissions of its cars both on paper and in the real world. This seems to be paying dividends on the road. It’s the fourth best brand here.

3: SuzukiCO2 champions: best cars for real-world emissions

Small car specialist Suzuki is a real star. Not only are its real-world CO2 emissions capped at 161g/km, they also show the lowest variance from official figures in this top 10 collection.

2: ToyotaCO2 champions: best cars for real-world emissions

Toyota is a green-focused volume brand and, although its CO2 figures show a variance factor of 2.6 over official stats, it’s still much lower than most other volume brands at 160g/km.

1: CitroenCO2 champions: best cars for real-world emissions

The clear leader for emitting low levels of CO2 in the real world is Citroen. Its margin of superiority over any other brand is hefty, with its range of cars emitting just 152g/km in real-world testing. A really impressive performance indeed from the increasingly innovative French car company.

The car brands with real-world CO2 closest to claimed figuresCO2 champions: best cars for real-world emissions

If you’re a car brand that has high official CO2 figures, the last thing you want is for those to go even higher in the real world. Emissions Analytics has looked at this too – and revealed the top 10 brands with the lowest variance from official figures – the best ‘honesty factors’, if you like. Some of them are bad, but at least they’re little worse in practice than the claim to be…

10: MitsubishiCO2 champions: best cars for real-world emissions

Nissan has just bought a majority stake in its Japanese rival Mitsubishi. It’s only been able to do this because Mitsubishi has been caught lying in fuel economy tests for the past 25 years. So Nissan will be pleased to discover UK figures show Mitsubishi’s real-world CO2 emissions to have the 10th-lowest variance to those claimed…

9: ChevroletCO2 champions: best cars for real-world emissions

Chevrolet cars, on average, emit 180g/km CO2 in real-world testing. This is closer than many brands to those claimed in the official figures. Good to know if you’re buying a cheap secondhand model: the brand is no longer sold new in the UK.

8: PorscheCO2 champions: best cars for real-world emissions

Sports car manufacturer Porsche naturally has rather a high real-world CO2 average. But the divergence from claimed figures is less than most high-volume, low CO2 brands.

7: LexusCO2 champions: best cars for real-world emissions

Lexus is a premium car company famed for its green-focused hybrids. Some question whether these actually deliver in the real world: Emissions Analytics’ figures suggest they do, with the seventh lowest divergence from official figures in the real world. Better than rivals from Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz…

6: SsangYongCO2 champions: best cars for real-world emissions

On average, SsangYong models emit 206g/km CO2 in real-world testing. This shows less variance than many other specialist SUV manufacturers. And its variance factor of 1.8…

5: SuzukiCO2 champions: best cars for real-world emissions

…is matched by small car specialist Suzuki – which boasts significantly lower real-world CO2 emissions of 161g/km.

4: HondaCO2 champions: best cars for real-world emissions

Honda is yet another Japanese brand in the top 10 car makers whose real-world CO2 figures show the least variance from official stats. On average, Honda vehicles emit 180/km CO2.

3: JeepCO2 champions: best cars for real-world emissions

The top three brands are all impressive. SUV specialist Jeep may emit a steep 200g/km CO2 in the real world, but the variance from claimed figures is just 1.1. Two British specialists go one better, though.

2: Aston MartinCO2 champions: best cars for real-world emissions

Aston Martin’s real-world CO2 figures are ultra-high at 314g/km. But the variance factor is a perfect 1.0, suggesting that it is little worse in the real world than the figures claim.

1: LotusCO2 champions: best cars for real-world emissions

Topping our list here is Lotus. Its real-world CO2 has, like Aston Martin, an almost ideal 1.0 variance factor over official stats. And those emissions are significantly lower than Aston, at 177g/km, adding to its green credentials. Despite its high-performance specialist sports cars, it’s actually the second-lowest brand for CO2 in the best-performing real world car makers.


Hot air: the worst cars for real-world CO2 emissions

PorscheSince the Volkswagen emissions scandal, the spotlight has been focused on the real world emissions of cars, rather than those produced in a lab. As Volkswagen proved, you can post exceptional results under test conditions, only for the reality to be very different indeed.

One organisation is taking a lead. Vehicle testing firm Emissions Analytics is checking the tailpipe emissions of every new car on sale, under its EQUA initiative. It’s already published data for NOx and carbon monoxide: now, it has released the findings of its latest tests for CO2 emissions – which shows car brands overall are missing their target by a whopping 39%. And some are worse still…

The British company’s number-crunching has created two figures: an indication the actual real-world CO2 for all cars on sale, plus a ‘variance factor’ that reveals by how much the real world varies from the official figure. Call this an ‘honesty rating’: 1 is most honest, 5 is least honest.

All new cars are sold with a quoted CO2 figure, which is used to calculate road tax and company car tax. But as Emissions Analytics shows, the cars of certain brands are performing far worse in reality than the figure suggest…

The car manufacturers with the highest real-world CO2

Emissions Analytics

First, to the car brands that produce the most CO2 in the real world, as opposed to a sterile and fully-controlled test bench. These makes of car are, simply put, the very biggest emitters of CO2. They’re the global warming anti-heroes.

10: Audi – 191g/km


Surprisingly, for all its TDI diesel engines and e-tron plug-in hybrids, it’s Audi that has the 10th highest real-world CO2 figure. Blame all those big Q5s and Q7s, plus the R8 supercar? Well, yes, but also blame an EQUA variance factor ‘honesty rating’ of 2.7 over what its official NEDC figures state and how the cars perform in real life. Remember, 1 is most honest and 5 is least honest.

9: Jeep – 200g/km


Jeep is an SUV manufacturer. It makes big, thirsty 4x4s. So it’s perhaps no surprise to see it appear in the CO2 emissions bad books. It’s not all bad news though: when Jeep says it’s bad in official figures, the real-world figures at least prove it’s being honest – its variance factor is just 1.1, compared to Audi’s 2.7.

8: SsangYong – 206g/km


Nearly all of SsangYong’s cars are big, too: the smallest car it makes is the Nissan Qashqai-rivalling Tivoli. Jeep’s are generally bigger though, and both its overall CO2 figure and the real-world variance over claims are better than SsangYong’s…

7: Jaguar – 207g/km


Jaguar’s cars are sporty and premium. The XE has yet to have a big impact on the range, so its overall brand CO2 is driven up by the XF, the F-Type, the XJ. CO2 emissions that vary by 2.5 times over official figures aren’t so clever either, though.

6: Lexus – 211g/km


Jaguar produces less CO2 than Lexus? Hang on a minute, surely that’s not right – Lexus is the brand of the hybrid, after all? Well, yes, but it’s also a brand that sells a lot of RX SUVs. A lower variance factor of 1.9 isn’t enough to offset that – oh, and the fact it doesn’t sell CO2-cutting diesels, either.

5: Infiniti – 213g/km


This is a poor result for Infiniti. According to Emissions Analytics, its quoted CO2 figures underplay the real-world CO2 of its cars by an ‘honesty factor’ of 3.6. The everyday CO2 of its cars is a stonking 213g/km, meaning it puts out more carbon dioxide as a brand than 4×4 specialist Jeep. We thought this brand was meant to be the smart-thinker’s alternative?

4: Subaru – 214g/km


Subaru’s turbo boxer engines sound good in the real world, but you’re best listening to them from a safe distance: their actual CO2 emissions are much higher than the claimed figures.

3: Land Rover – 223g/km

Land Rover

Like Jeep, Land Rover only makes SUVs. Big, posh, heavy SUVs, like the Range Rover and Discovery. The Evoque has helped bring down its range-average CO2 figures, but a variance factor of 2.6 pushes it back up again: bronze medal in the list of manufacturers with the highest real-world CO2.

2: Porsche – 240g/km


Porsche’s sports cars are naturally rather thirsty, and so naturally put out a lot of CO2. Even the slowest, cheapest 911 does 0-62mph in 4.6 seconds – you don’t get such performance without using a bit more fuel than average. Its range CO2 figures are pushed up further in the real world due to a variance factor of 2.0 over what it claims, too.

1: Aston Martin – 314g/km

Aston Martin

It’s perhaps no surprise to find a supercar manufacturer tops the list of the brands with the highest real-world CO2. Aston Martin’s cars all have V8s and V12s, after all. What’s positive for the brand is that its variance factor is a mere 1.0 – it says it’s bad, but it’s very honest when it says this, too.

And now it’s onto the brands whose CO2 figures mysteriously show the biggest variance in the real world compared to what they can achieve in the lab – this is precisely what let Volkswagen down…

The car manufacturers with the biggest real-world variance to official CO2 figures


Car manufacturers blame the flawed NEDC test. Campaign groups say there’s something fishy going on. Experts say brands have simply learnt how to best perfect cars to do well in the very-limited-scope official emissions test, without resorting to cheating.

Whatever the reason, there’s no denying the real-world results are often very different to what’s officially claimed in the legislated CO2 figures. And here are the worst offenders – the brands with the worst ‘honesty ratings’.

Chrysler – 3.1 times variance factor


American brand Chrysler benefits from being part of Fiat, which includes sharing Fiat engines. Which, according to Emissions Analytics, aren’t quite as green in real life as the test figures claim. Another reason for the brand being withdrawn from the UK?

Peugeot – 3.1 times variance factor


Peugeot’s real-world CO2 figures also vary over claimed statistics by a hefty factor of 3.1. And this, from a brand that’s committed to releasing real-world economy statistics for its cars. How long before customers force it to cut down this yawning variance?

Renault – 3.1 times variance factor


Renault’s HQ was raided by investigators looking into evidence of emissions test skulduggery. We’ve heard nothing since so clearly there’s nothing to report – but news of a real-world variance factor of 3.1 over claimed figures should still provide food for thought.

Volvo – 3.2 times variance factor


Volvo prides itself on being a safe, upstanding brand, and part of this sensible-shoes image is serving up great MPG and low CO2 figures. This image takes a bit of a dent, though, as Emissions Analytics finds an honesty rating of 3.2 over what it says and what real-world figures say.

Fiat – 3.4 times variance factor


Fiat’s range is dominated by small cars such as the 500 and Panda, models that will be bought to use mainly in city centres and to save fuel. Pity, then, the honesty rating of 3.4 suggests the real-world CO2 is not very likely to come close to what the official figures say…

Ford – 3.4 times variance factor


This is a significant result, because Ford is Britain’s best-selling car brand. According to Emissions Analytics, its CO2 figures have a variance factor ‘honesty rating’ of 3.4 compared to the official claimed NEDC figures, indicating that in the real world, its cars are not very likely to get close to the official stats.

Infiniti – 3.6 times variance factor


Remember, Infiniti emits one of the highest amounts of CO2: a variance factor of 3.6 suggests it’s less honest in the real world than the figures say it is. It’s not an enviable position for the premium challenger to be.

Alfa Romeo – 3.6 times variance factor

Alfa Romeo

Alfa joins Infiniti on the third-place spot in the honesty rating league table. The firm has to date sold just two cars, the Giulietta and the Mito: will the arrival of the fancy new Giulia help improve matters for the sporty Italian brand? It’s also significant in being the third Fiat Auto brand in the bottom 10…

DS – 4.7 times variance factor


The second-worst car brand for real-world CO2 diverging from the official figures is posh Citroen sister company DS. As Citroen itself isn’t among the bottom 10 (indeed, the C3 diesel is the only car to achieve the best-possible A1 rating), we’re not quite sure why this is so – perhaps the diesel-hybrid DS 5 is having an effect? Whatever the cause, it’s worth bearing in mind if you’re buying a DS with low CO2 in mind.

Smart – 5.0 times variance factor


The least honest brand for real-world CO2 figures? Surprisingly, it’s Smart – makers of the urban-hero Fortwo city car. Smart’s real-world CO2 is the furthest from the official rating of any manufacturer on sale, by the maximum-possible variance factor ‘honesty rating’ of 5.0, which means its real-world fuel economy is likely to be least like the glowing official stats as well. You may think you’re doing your bit for global warming by choosing a Smart, but the planet in reality might not thank you.

Classic Volkswagn badge

Volkswagen ‘among worst performing brands’

Classic Volkswagn badgeThe Volkswagen emissions scandal has caused the firm’s brand value to plunge by even more than experts initially estimated – which has led to big falls in its overall brand power.

Brand valuation firm Brand Finance has revealed its latest Global 500 rankings for 2016, and its analysis has revealed Volkswagen to be one of the very worst performing brands of the year.

It has fell down the rankings from 17th to 56th, due to a staggering $12 billion decline in the power of its brand. This is even more than the $10 billion cost initially estimated by Brand Finance.

It leaves the Volkswagen brand worth $18.9 billion, instead of the near-$31 billion it was valued at this time last year.

Volkswagen’s fortunes “come as little surprise given the scale of the scandal that has engulfed the brand,” said Brand Finance, “following revelations that it programmed its diesel vehicles to activate their optimal emission-reduction settings only when being tested.

The damming result is that, “under normal conditions, they would emit up to 40 times the more nitrogen oxide” and the effect on Volkswagen’s brand value has been stark.

Brand Finance’s analysis is based on factors such as familiarity, loyalty, promotion, marketing investment, staff satisfaction and corporate reputation. The battering the latter’s taken for Volkswagen has been enormous and it’s only by turning it back around will the value of the brand recover.

Go Ultra Low

Plug-in Car Grant extended to ‘at least’ February 2016

Go Ultra LowThe government has guaranteed the Plug-in Car Grant, offering up to £5,000 off the price of an ultra-low emission car, will continue for “at least” the next six months.

Previously, the grant was due for review once volumes hit 50,000 units: a recent boom in ULEV registrations – they’ve grown 256% so far in 2015 – means the SMMT expects that benchmark to be reached in November 2015.

The government has responded early though, by committing the Plug-in Car Grant to at least February 2016: it means cars emitting 75g/km CO2 or less remain eligible for the £5,000 grant for at least six months more.

Transport Minister, Andrew Jones MP said: “The UK is now the fastest growing market for electric vehicles in Europe. We will continue to invest to help make this technology affordable to everyone and to secure the UK’s position as a global leader.”

The SMMT welcomed the announcement. Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “With British buyers taking to ultra-low emission vehicles faster than anyone else in Europe, the extension of the Plug-in Car Grant is good news.”

Hetal Shah, head of Go Ultra Low, said: “This announcement demonstrates the government’s commitment to supporting the growth of the ULEV market.”

With one eye to future CO2 targets, Shah said this commitment is almost an imperative: “If we are to meet ambitious targets for ULEV uptake, continued investment is paramount.”

Hawes added: “The market for these vehicles remains small… it is essential that government continues to provide effective incentives for their uptake – including the Plug-in Car Grant and other measures.”

This makes it unlikely to government will completely withdraw the grant when February arrives: indeed, the government has recently announced that “at least” £200 million has been made to continue it.

Expect more details about the next step in the Plug-in Car Grant to be announced in the spring 2016 budget, coincidentally likely to take place soon after the current extension to today’s incentive is due to expire…

New car CO2

Record low new car CO2 means FREE tax for two in three

New car CO2New car CO2 emissions have fallen for the 17th straight year – and it’s new car buyers who are the winners as nearly 69% are getting free first-year tax.

Cars emitting 130g/km CO2 or less – the 2015 EU target – are exempt from road tax charges in the first year, and such big reductions in car emissions mean more than ever are benefitting from it.

Indeed, car makers have been so successful in reducing new car CO2, the SMMT reports the policy itself is now under scrutiny. The next government must, as a priority, review the policy because “this tremendous success raises questions about the future shape of taxation and incentives in the UK”.

Numbers of VED tax-free new cars may be swelling right now, but it’s unlikely to last…

New car CO2: from 181g/km to 124g/km in 14 years

The average UK new car now emits just 124.6g/km CO2, which is 4.2% better than the 2015 EU target. This contrasts with 2000, where average new car CO2 emissions were a choking 181g/km.

Even as soon as 2007, they were still a gasping 164.9g/km, which shows how successful car manufacturers have been.

Tailpipe emissions are cleaner than ever too: latest diesel cars are increasingly meeting Euro 6 standards ahead of the September 2015 obligation for all new cars sold, and sales of ultra-low emissions vehicles are also spiralling.

Sales of plug-in hybrids such as the Audi A3 e-tron and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV rocketed fourfold in 2014 alone, to 14,498 vehicles.

“The UK automotive sector has made enormous strides in cutting emissions across the board and should be proud of its achievements,” said SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes.

“However, there is a long way to go, and meeting ambitious targets in 2020 [where new car CO2 emissions must get down to 95g/km] will require on-going support and investment.

“Striking the delicate balance between influencing buying behaviour, encouraging investment and maintaining critical tax income will be a big challenge.”

A balance that today’s policy, due to the rapid work of the automotive sector, arguably no longer strikes…

New car CO2 down 33% since 1995

Renault Clio Dynamique Medianav dCi 90 Eco2 Stop & Start – long-term reviewNew car CO2 emissions have fallen by more than 33 per cent since 1995, new figures from the European Environment Agency have revealed.

Back in 1995, the average new car CO2 figure was a wheezing 186g/km; last year, the average across the industry was 123g/km – something that’s helped EU cars boast the highest environmental standards in the world, reckons European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association secretary general Erik Jonnaert.

This has been achieved both with and without legislation, he added: car makers have poured “billions of euros worth of investment in R&D”.

It will, however, require lots more investment – and potential expense for both car makers and the consumer – to achieve future significant reductions in CO2, he added. That’s because the most cost-effective CO2-reducing solutions have already been taken.

“Looking beyond 2020, we need a wider debate involving all stakeholders on a more balanced and effective system for further reducing CO2 emissions from transport.”

Electric cars seem to be the most obvious solution, but they remain very expensive and, at just 0.3 per cent of car registrations across Europe, are arguably contributing just a tiny amount to overall CO2 reductions.

This has to change, believes Jonnaert. “Governments across Europe will need to increase their support if we are to see a significant increase in sales, both in terms of helping to build the charging infrastructure necessary and in influencing consumer choices.”

Removing DPF: illegal and costly say experts

Removing DPF: illegal and costly say experts

Removing DPF: illegal and costly say experts

Experts are warning that removing a car’s diesel particulate filter (DPF) is not only illegal, it’s also a waste of money.

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Ford British diesel engines

New low-CO2 Ford 2.0-litre diesel to be built in Britain

Ford British diesel enginesFord is planning to launch a fuel-efficient new 2.0-litre diesel engine in 2016 and has confirmed the next generation motor will be built in the UK. Read more


Vans CO2 target ‘a joke’ say green transport campaigners

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. Read more