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Will EU Emissions Regulations Buckle Under Pressure from German Automakers?

Germany, Center of EU Automakers (and Emissions?)
Germany, Center of EU Automakers (and Emissions?)

Much like the United States CAFE [Corporate Average Fuel Economy] regulations seek to gradually reduce vehicle emissions, the European Union’s Euro-6 standards limit emissions in new vehicles produced and sold in the EU.

The current Euro-6 regulations don’t take effect until 2015, and stronger Euro-7 regulations don’t take effect until 2020, but automakers are already bucking the system, especially automakers in Germany. Much like Detroit is the center of automobile manufacturing in the US, Germany is the center of automobile manufacturing in the EU so, any changes to emissions regulations, such as the upcoming Euro-6 regulations, will affect German automakers, and Germany itself, more than other countries.

There are other automakers in the EU, of course. Renault, the tenth biggest automaker in the world, is based in France and produced 2,302,769 vehicles last year, just shy of 27% of the number made by Volkswagen. The research and development money required for EU automakers to meet the new standards will have a bigger impact on Germany. That being said, German automakers have used their substantial weight to lobby their own legislators to ease up on the emissions regulations. [Sound familiar?] Germany, in turn, has pushed hard against the European Union, and it seems to have worked.

Now, the agreement to phase in Euro-7 regulations for 2020 was only just reached in June. While most automakers are already, or at least close to, meeting the 130g/km carbon dioxide Euro-6 limit in 2015, they aren’t looking forward to meeting the Euro-6I regulation limiting carbon dioxide emissions to 95g/km. European Union Chancellor Angela Merkel’s proposal would effectively push back the 2020 limits for an additional four years.

On the other hand, British consultant group Cambridge Econometrics estimates the EU could save some €70 billion [$95 billion US] annually on petroleum imports, as well as the associated emissions reduction, if the fleet managed to implement the 95g/km standard right now.

Image © WikiMedia

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