Minister Hogan can reduce fuel bills by delivering cleaner cars
Government can reduce the cost of motoring without spending taxpayers’ money
Motorists to save €450 - €850 a year if Minister Hogan delivers
New car efficiency standards are due to be set during Ireland’s EU Presidency. This will present Minister Hogan with an enormous opportunity to reduce costs for motorists, according to An Taisce, the National Trust for Ireland.
EU car efficiency standards are already under review and legislation is due to be finalised under the Ireland’s Presidency of the EU which runs from 1 January to 30 June of next year, notes An Taisce.
Opportunity to cut bills by €450 - €850 a year
Drivers in Ireland are currently paying an average of €1,820 a year in motor fuel bills. If Minister Hogan steers through EU-wide car efficiency legislation for 2020 as it is currently drafted, annual fuel bills can be cut by €455 a year.
And if Minister Hogan gets behind an ambitious standard for 2025 (60g/km), motorists will save a massive €842 by that year.
How Minister Hogan can deliver huge savings
Volkswagen is the only major carmarker against this consumer reform
The car sector is backing these reforms, in general. Suppliers of car components and carmakers such as Volvo have come out in favour of an ambitious standard for 2020, and say the EU should also set a target for 2025 to provide investment certainty for the car sector. 
However, there is one notable exception to the industry's enthusiasm for the reforms – Volkswagen. Sadly, Volkswagen has taken an anti-consumer stance is and opposing EU law reforms that reduce the cost of motoring.
Volkswagen’s approach is lamentable, according to An Taisce, and the Trust points to recent developments across the Atlantic. Last year, the US government introduced new standards to halve fuel consumption in new cars and vans by 2025. Thirteen (13) global carmakers backed the reform, including Toyota, Ford and BMW – but Volkswagen opposed it.
More than 500,000 people have already put their name to the Greenpeace Europe campaign asking Volkswagen to stop lobbying politicians for weak car efficiency legislation.
The standards proposed
EU car efficiency standards are set in terms in terms of grams of CO2 emitted per kilometre (g/km) averaged across manufacturers’ fleets. The average new car sold in Ireland now emits less than 140 g/km.
For 2020 there is outline target of 95g/km. Importantly, however, the outline target of 95 g/km needs to be confirmed in European legislation during the Irish Presidency. According to An Taisce, this will be the first test for Minister Hogan.
However, currently, no target has been set for 2025 and this is an omission because forward-looking car manufacturers plan vehicle design and assembly line processes 10 to 12 years ahead – and more - not just 7 years (to 2020).
So equally important for Minister Hogan is the setting of an outline target for 2025. The Minister should be ambitious and strive for high efficiency, which as the work on fuel savings shows, is what really cuts costs for motorists. A target of 60g CO2/km would reduce costs by an astonishing €840 a year. There are no technical barriers to this level of ambition.
Pan-European NGOs and consumers groups – including Greenpeace and Transport & Environment - are calling on the EU to set an ambitious long term target of 60g CO2/km for 2025. An Taisce is backing this call in Ireland.
The research and its author
Greenpeace commissioned independent consultant Malcolm Fergusson to conduct the study highlighted here. Mr Fergusson is a specialist in climate change, energy and transport at national and European levels. He has been a Senior Fellow at the Institute for European Environmental Policy and subsequently Head of Climate Change at the Environment Agency for England and Wales. He is currently working as an independent consultant. Full data and an explanation of the methodology used to reach it is available for each of the 15 European countries studied.
For further information, please call:
Charles Stanley-Smith, An Taisce Communications, 087 2411995
James Nix 086 8394129
Notes and sources
· If Minister Hogan steers through legislation for new cars, the purchasers of second cars also benefit over time as cars are sold on.
· Based on data from the NCT test in 2010, the average distance travelled per car is 16,461km.
· Fuel prices date for 2012 date to January (€1.54 per litre for petrol; €1.52 for diesel). Long term, very modest assumptions are made regarding oil prices, with the cost of a barrel expected to climb slowly to stand at $115 a barrel by 2030 (based on International Energy Agency projections).
· An Taisce continually calls for local and national initiatives to boost cycling, walking and public transport. It also acknowledges that many have no choice but to drive, and argues that the best way to shield commuters from rising prices at the pump is to improve the efficiency of new cars. The benefits are also felt in public transport, and very quickly in the case of taxis. Better car standards also boost local air quality as well as reducing climate-warming emissions.
 http://www.euractiv.com/climate-environment/tajani-backs-away-2025-fuel-efficiency-fight-news-511735 and http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/23/uk-eu-car-emissions-idUSLNE82M02420120323