By pushing for stronger standards Government can reduce the cost of motoring and cut transport emissions to help meet Ireland’s 2020 targets

Ireland has everything to gain and nothing to lose by working hard to achieve stronger EU car efficiency standards, according An Taisce, the National Trust for Ireland.

An Taisce is today urging the Government to join with the governments of other progressive member states such as the Netherlands and Denmark to push for stronger car efficiency standards.

Efficient cars save motorists hundreds of euro a year at the pump and are, by far, the most cost-effective way to cut CO2 emissions from transport, which after agriculture, is the largest polluter of climate-altering gases in Ireland. Transport and agriculture present the most difficulties in terms in terms of Ireland meeting its commitments for 2020.

Car efficiency in the EU is measured in terms of grams of CO2 emitted per kilometre (g/km) averaged across manufacturers’ fleets.

Under a proposal from the European Commission which was leaked earlier this week, car manufacturers must reduce the average emissions from their fleets from 130g/km in 2015 to 95 g/km in 2020, an improvement which will save the average motorist across the EU €500 a year in reduced fuel bills.

While the planned improvement is welcome, drivers have also been short-changed because tightening the 2020 requirement to 80g/km would save an additional €150 a year, according to James Nix, the co-ordinator in Ireland for Transport & Environment, a Brussels-based organisation which works with An Taisce.

With 29% of Ireland’s non-traded emissions coming from transport, Ireland needs to collaborate with progressive member states to ensure ambitious car efficiency standards are delivered during the Irish EU Presidency, An Taisce stresses.

The leaked Commission proposal also shows that no target has been set for 2025. A target of 60g CO2/km should be set for 2025, a level of ambition for which there is no technical barrier, as the evidence now shows. Through Minister Phil Hogan, it is very much in the interests of Irish taxpayers and motorists for the government to work for an ambitious car efficiency standard for 2025, said Mr Nix.

Attention is frequently drawn to examples of poor or dysfunctional Irish regulation. However, with more than 70% of car sales now in tax bands A and B (i.e. emissions of less than 140g/km), Ireland is a best practice country in terms using smart regulation to influence car sales and save emissions.

Coming into its presidency on 1 January 2013, Ireland has a leadership position it must use to deliver for consumers, the environment and future citizens, as well as the longer-term interests of the EU as a whole, added Mr Nix.

A full briefing on the CO2 targets for cars is available here:


For further information, please call:

James Nix 086 8394129


For the leaked Commission proposal, please see:

For the evidence that the technology is now there to achieve 60 g/km at reasonable cost please see: