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Dirty Cars

DW staff (kjb)August 26, 2008

BMW made the most progress of any large carmaker in cutting CO2 emissions, according to a new report, but experts warn that all manufacturers are far from meeting the EU's 2012 goal.

BMW 135i Coupe
BMW may be the fastest at cutting CO2, but is still far from the goalImage: BMW Press

BMW reducing emissions by 7.3 percent last year, according to a report released Tuesday, Aug. 26, by the environmental group Transport and Environment (T&E).

The Munich-based carmaker will have to cut carbon dioxide emissions by another 19 percent by 2012 if it is to meet the European Union's target.

Under laws proposed by the EU's executive, the European Commission, and currently under debate, every car manufacturer which sells large numbers of vehicles in Europe should be given a target for the average amount of CO2 its new cars emit from 2012. The proposed targets are calculated according to the average weight of cars each firm sells.

Bad grade for German cars

Despite the Munich manufacturer's relative progress, T&E said that, overall, German cars -- including those made by BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen -- emitted 10 grams of carbon dioxide more than the EU average.

French car manufacturers are the closest to hitting proposed European Union targets for reducing their CO2 emissions, said the Brussels-based environmental group, while Japanese makers are the furthest away.

Peugeot 307 CC Diesel-Hybrid
Peugeot is close to the target, but moving forward slowlyImage: dpa

According to T&E's study, based on official EU data, the Peugeot-Citroen group is closest to its target, needing to reduce average new car emissions by 10 percent in the next five years.

At the other end of the spectrum, Suzuki faces making cuts of a hefty 25 percent in its average car emissions, Daimler and Mazda will have to make 24-percent cuts and Nissan will have to cut by 22 percent, the study said.

"It is striking that three of the bottom four carmakers are Japanese ... All three did not close the gap sufficiently in 2007 and will have to speed up their efforts," it said.

Heavy cars to blame

While French carmakers are closer to their targets, they are making relatively slow progress: Peugeot-Citroen cut emissions by 0.9 percent in 2007, while Renault managed just 0.5 percent, meaning that both groups will have to step up their efforts in order to hit the target.

T&E blamed the rising weight of cars for the small cuts made to emissions. The average car gained 10 kilograms (22 pounds) last year. Heavier cars require more fuel.