Parliament gave a green light for cleaner, more fuel-efficient vans on Tuesday, in a vote to introduce CO2 limits in the EU for new vans and other light commercial goods vehicles. The rules, agreed with Member States, include incentives to make highly-efficient vehicles as well as penalties for manufacturers that miss the targets.
Parliament approved the legislation with 534 votes in favour, 117 against and 15 abstentions. If endorsed by the Council of Ministers, it will complement existing CO2 limits for passenger cars. Besides contributing towards better air quality and the EU's climate targets, the rules should ensure that small firms that depend on these vans get more fuel-efficient ones. The upper weight limit for this category is 3.5 tonnes when loaded.
Martin Callanan (ECR, UK), who steered the legislation through Parliament, commented: "This legislation has been a difficult balancing act between setting ambitious but attainable environmental targets for manufacturers. I am satisfied that this is a good deal for the environment, for van manufacturers, and for van users across the EU."
The rules aim to spur innovation in industry, setting an initial target of 175g CO2/km. Under the terms of an agreed phase-in, the average emissions of 70% of a manufacturer's fleet must meet this limit in 2014 and the average of all its vehicles by 2017.
The legislation also sets a limit of 147g CO2/km to be achieved by 2020. This figure reflects a less ambitious compromise than many MEPs had wanted, but in line with the agreement reached with Council. Manufacturers registering fewer than 22,000 new vehicles in a year may apply for an exemption from the rules.
Supercredits and penalties
Vans that emit less than 50g CO2/km will earn carmakers "supercredits" for a limited time, by counting as 3.5 vehicles towards the average in 2014-2015, 2.5 in 2016 and 1.5 in 2017, the last year of the scheme. On the other hand, each new van over the agreed limits will be subject to penalties rising to €95 per gram from 2019.