This week the European Commission published a new draft proposal on car efficiency for 2020. They agreed to stick with their original target but have missed a chance to go further towards getting us off our oil addiction.
Through out our VW Darkside campaign, we've been calling for a strong car efficiency target which would help reduce emissions and save people money at a time of high petrol prices. Meanwhile, car companies, led by Volkswagen, have been trying to water down the new laws.
Before our campaign VW was publicly opposed to the EU target – saying it was impossible and would cost them too much - but the weight of over half a million people has made it impossible for them to continue to openly oppose it. But we still need to do more.
VW, accompanied by fellow carmaker BMW, has pushed hard for loopholes to water down the law. They wanted to delay the target until 2022, and also asked for ‘super credits’ – where they get to off-set their big, gas-guzzling cars against the electric cars they make. They only have to sell a few electric cars to make them count towards the target, and to make things worse the electric cars get counted as one and a third cars!
The EU has so far resisted attempts to delay the target, but in a move which seriously weakens the law they did agree to the ‘super credits’. They also didn’t set a target at all for 2025 – this is important as we need to keep moving closer to zero emissions from transport.
Strong targets in 2020 and 2025 would mean cars wouldn’t use as much petrol. This could save drivers over £1000 a year by 2030. At a time when petrol prices are rising and people are struggling to make ends meet, car companies should stop trying to block moves that would really help their customers.
We urgently need to reduce our dependence on oil. Since 1990, CO2 emissions from road transport have risen by 18%. Cars are currently completely dependent on oil, and manufacturers need to take their responsibility to the planet seriously and move towards more efficient cars.
The cheap and easy-to-reach oil we are dependent on is running out, pushing us to start extracting expensive and hard-to-reach oil in places like the Arctic. This month, Shell will become the first major oil company to start drilling in the Arctic. The consequences of an oil spill in this pristine region would be disastrous for the people and wildlife there. We are campaigning to stop them, but if our society used less oil in the first place there would be no need to drill in the Arctic.
We still need your help - the targets will be discussed again by European politicians in the autumn and we know VW will be up to their old tricks to try and water them down. So stay tuned for more we can do at the end of summer.
We know car companies can do it – some more progressive companies like Toyota are in favour of the target, so why are VW dragging their heels on measures that would help consumers save money and help the planet? They need to live up to their green credentials and use their force for good.