The CO2 emission limit for new light commercial vehicles sold in the EU is to be reduced from 203 g/km today to 175 g/km after 2017 and 147 g/km by 2020, under draft legislation approved by the Environment Committee on Tuesday. The text, already informally agreed with EU ministers, also paves the way for achieving further reductions after 2020, and provides for the introduction of a new test protocol.

"I welcome the confirmation of this 147g target for 2020, as defined two years ago. We took care to retain this target throughout the negotiations", said rapporteur Holger Krahmer (ALDE, DE). "We did not introduce a post-2020 target. This file would be the wrong document for any new targets. The Commission is asked to provide a new target after conducting a proper impact assessment." he added.

The 147g/km by 2020 target represents maximum average emissions authorised for manufacturers registered in the EU of vans of up to 2.610 tonnes unladen and 3.5 tonnes laden. It will apply to manufacturers producing more than 1,000 vehicles per year, say MEPs.

Manufacturers will therefore have to produce, besides older, heavier or more polluting vehicles, enough cleaner models to achieve an overall "balance" of 147 g/km by 2020, on pain of penalties.

Super credits after 2018

To achieve their targets, manufacturers are to rely on a system of "super credits" which gives extra weighting to vehicles emitting less than 50 g/km of CO2. This system, which already exists, will not be renewed and will expire in 2018.

Towards more trustworthy test procedures

The committee points to loopholes in the current environmental performance test protocol, which manufacturers have exploited, with the result that promised consumption and emission figures are often almost impossible to achieve in normal daily driving conditions.

MEPs sought to have today's protocol replaced as soon as possible by the new World Light Duty Test Procedure (WLTP) defined by the UN. In negotiations, they won an undertaking from the European Commission to seek to bring the WLTP into effect by 1 January 2017.

Next steps

The text will be put to a plenary vote at the 14 to 17 January session in Strasbourg.

In the chair: Matthias Groote (S&D, DE)