There seems to be a turn in the debate on emissions reduction. The Centre-left Socialists and Democrats (S&D) group in the European Parliament aims to set a higher threshold for vehicle emission standards, from 30% to 40% for the period 2021-2030.

The debate also shifted to the way in which CO2 emissions are calculated. At present moment, the adopted measure is based on vehicle mass, rather than footprint, this last being widely supported by car industry experts and policy makers and the ICCT (International Council on Clean Transportation).

“When the European Union (EU) introduced its first set of mandatory new vehicle CO2 standards in 2009, for passenger cars, and 2011, for light commercial vehicles, vehicle mass was chosen as a utility parameter because data on mass were readily available. However, the regulation asked the European Commission to collect data on alternative utility parameters and to consider switching to another parameter, such as vehicle footprint (an expression of vehicle size, measured as track width times wheelbase), at a later time”. (ICCT)

However, there is still scepticism regarding the footprint approach, which is considered to place more burden on manufacturers of larger vehicles.

More information on the calculation standard for CO2 emissions can be found in this ICCT factsheet.