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Europe's Car-Originated CO2 Emissions Fell 3.7 Percent in 2010

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Unlike the U.S., Europe is well-known for its low emission cars, small and highly-efficient engines. A recent EU report claims Europe’s fuel efficiency has even risen in 2010, bringing carbon emissions down about 3.7 percent. The target is to reach 130 grams of CO2 per kilometer by 2015.

Last year’s emissions drop is still small compared to the one of 2009 – 5.1 percent. Despite protests from French, German and Italian carmakers in 2008, when the target was imposed, 2010 brought an average of 140 grams of CO2 per kilometer.

“These data show again that setting targets… stimulates the car industry to put greener cars on the market,” EU climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard told Reuters. “These innovations also ensure Europe’s car industry remains competitive in the changing global market.”

SUVs sales started booming in 2010. Their success has determined the overall weight growth of cars by 28 kilograms, a fact criticized by numerous environmentalists.

As a conclusion, car emissions cannot go down instantly or within only a few years. Time will replace all of those gas guzzlers and I guess that in some 10 to 20 years from now mostly everyone will be able to buy a second-hand Leaf, Chevy Volt or some other electric vehicle. History always repeats itself. While second hand 2004 Priuses could be bought at a high $18,000 euros a few years ago, now you can get them for $8,000 or less, depending on the condition.

Even at this age, a 2004 Prius is nevertheless a good car to drive. When their time will come, electrics will be even better, since they have less moving parts and the chances of something breaking are way smaller. Batteries will also see a drop in price, so we’ll probably be able to purchase replacements just like we do for laptops, or even better, use battery swapping programs like Project Better Place. There are solutions.

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