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CO2 Emissions of New Passenger Cars

Fotolia© H-J Paulsen

CO2 Emissions of New Passenger Cars


In an effort to reduce CO2 emissions from new passenger cars, the EU has established measures to ensure that information on vehicle fuel economy is readily available for consumers. A study coordinated by Ecologic Institute for the European Parliament examined the implementation of the EU directive regarding the availability of fuel economy information to identify and assess potential amendments to the legislation. The final report can be downloaded online.

Directive 1999/94/EC outlines measures to provide consumers with information on passenger car fuel economy while Member States determine individual methods by which to implement the Directive. In particular, the Directive specifies the use of a label, a showroom poster, a printed guide on fuel economy, as well as the inclusion of CO2 information in promotional material to inform consumers about vehicle fuel economy.

In a study commissioned by the European Parliament, the implementation of the EU directive was evaluated to indentify and assess potential amendments to the legislation. The study aimed at distinguishing the methods of implementation used in the Member States and providing practical recommendations to the European Parliament.

To accomplish the project goals, a series of case studies of ten Member States were conducted which examined the various measures used and assessed compliance with the Directive. Additionally, existing research on consumer behaviour and car purchasing, as well as other product areas, was reviewed to determine effective methods to convey information to car consumers. The study for the European Parliament determined a number of key issues regarding the Directive and highlighted various possibilities to amend it.

Key recommendations made by the study include:

  • Updating the CO2 label to ensure that it provides information in a clear format based on consumer research. The label would gain from the use a simple colour scheme and by following the example of the EU energy efficiency label.
  • Precisely defining the Directive’s requirements for the inclusion of CO2 in promotional material.
  • Including running costs within the Directive as a financial incentive for consumers when purchasing passenger vehicles, though the exact method to provide this information requires additional research.

Ecologic Institute coordinated the project, working closely with a group of partner institutes. In addition, Ecologic Institute conducted case studies in both Germany and Austria, held discussions of relevant issues with various stakeholder groups and contributed extensively to researching and writing the final report. Partner institutes made considerable contributions to the case studies as well as to the final report. The project team discovered a number of compelling findings and formulated policy-relevant options for the European Parliament to potentially improve the effectiveness of Directive 1999/94/EC.

The final report [pdf, 2.0 MB, English] can be downloaded online.

More content from this project

Max Grünig
Benjamin Boteler
Project ID
consumer policy, consumer behaviour, EU environment, policy assessment, sustainability, transport, car labelling
Europe, Austria, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, Poland, UK