9 Mar 18

As diesel loses traction, CO2 emissions rise, but not for all OEMs

In 2017, average CO2 emissions generated by new cars registered in Europe increased for the first time in 10 years. Jato Dynamics carried out a survey in 23 European markets and found an average CO2 emissions increase of 0.3g/km, as we reported earlier.

This increase can be attributed to the turbulence diesel engines have ended up in following the Dieselgate emissions-cheating scandal. The rising popularity of SUVs, which are heavier and less fuel efficient than conventional passenger cars, also carries part of the blame.

Between 2016 and 2017, the market share of petrol cars increased by 10.9%. Total market share for petrol vehicles grew 3%, reaching the 50% mark.

Alternative-fuelled vehicles progressed, too, albeit at a much more modest rate, growing from a 3% market share in 2016 to 5% in 2017. Scepticism about range, charging point availability and new car prices often scare off drivers.

As motorists move away from diesel and towards petrol, CO2 emissions have started going up again.

Jato Dynamics' table (above) illustrates average CO2 emissions per carmaker. Contrary to current trends, Toyota managed to improve its average in 2017, undoubtedly attributable to the popularity of its hybrid powertrains. Only 7 of its competitors in the top 20 posts a decrease.

There is a clear correlation between SUV popularity and CO2 emissions. Peugeot, for instance, fell to second place in a year when its SUVs were more popular than ever before. SEAT and sister brand Skoda suffered an emissions increase, too, undoubtedly fuelled by the popularity of both brands' SUVs.

The EU CO2 targets of 95g/km will require carmakers to come up with alternatives for diesel engines and for petrol engines if they want to avoid hefty fines. 

Authored by: Benjamin Uyttebroeck