Electric car
11 October 2018

CO2: a new European goal to ensure that new vehicles consume less fuel

A 35% reduction in new vehicles’ CO2 emissions by 2030 compared with 2021: such is the goal that the EU’s 28 Environment Ministers set on 9 October. The agreement must now be debated by the European Parliament.

On 9 October 2018, the Council of European Environment Ministers set a new goal for reduction of automobile CO2 emissions, advocating reduction of new vehicles’ emissions by 35% by 2030 compared with 2021. An intermediate goal of -15 % in 2025 will ensure that manufacturers make significant efforts right from the beginning of the period.


This is an ambitious position, bearing witness to collective awareness of the climate emergency: in concrete terms, it will mean that, on average, new vehicles will consume over a third less fuel to cover the same distances than they did a decade earlier, reducing pollution and the energy bill alike.

Reaching these goals will not only require technological progress to be made on combustion engines, but also assumes introduction of a significant percentage of electric and hybrid vehicles into manufacturers’ ranges.

A challenging bonus mechanism has been introduced for manufacturers with high proportions of electric or rechargeable hybrid vehicles in their sales, since such vehicles require adaptation of users’ behaviour and must provide air-quality benefits, especially in cities; the scheme will encourage development of clean vehicles in the shortest possible time.

France is fully committed to this action: alongside other ambitious countries, it originally promoted a 40% reduction. Other partners, not wishing to overburden the automotive industry, did not want to go beyond -30%.

Determined to act effectively and ambitiously – as it is essential that action be taken without delay, before COP24 in particular – France and its partners have enabled a Council decision to be taken with immediate effect, with a target of -35%.

France has also obtained introduction of a revision clause enabling modification of the emission reduction goal in 2023, depending on actual emissions recorded by all cars on the road.

Discussions are soon to be held between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission, and will lead to confirmation of the European ambition in a context where the European Parliament has already adopted a -40% proposal.

In parallel, the Government will continue its discussions with French and European manufacturers with a view to speeding up replacement of the most polluting existing vehicles in order to achieve the expected impact on our emissions and so enable limitation of global warming to below the 1.5°C threshold recommended by the IPPC Report published on 8 October this year.

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