Regular readers of RenewEconomy would be well versed in Germany’s remarkable success with renewable energy generation, but how green are its cars? While Australia has been recording a steady growth in consumption of petroleum fuels and associated emissions over the past four years, it turns out that CO2 emissions of newly registered passenger cars in Germany have decreased quite noticeably, according to a recent report – and graph – from Deutsche Bank.
As the chart below shows, the average emissions of newly built cars in the first seven months of 2013 was 137.5 g/km – down an impressive 19 per cent from 2006 levels, when they still averaged 170 g/km CO2e. The report, by Deutsche Bank analyst Eric Heymann, says CO2 emissions have fallen across the board in Germany, in all vehicle categories – even despite strong rises in the country’s share of ‘gas guzzling’ off-road vehicles and SUVs since 2006. Heymann points to several reasons for this drop in auto emissions in Germany – the first being the increase in fuel prices. “This has induced buyers to pay greater attention to fuel costs (and thus indirectly also to CO2 emissions),” he says. Legal limits have also played an important part in the change, with the introduction of the EU mandate that average CO2 emissions of new passenger cars must drop to 95 g/km by 2020. Technological progress is also named as a contributing factor, driven by fierce competition within the automotive sector.
Another interesting factor worth noting, says Heymann, is the shift in the shares of individual emission categories.”While only just under 3 per cent of all new passenger cars remained below the 120 g/km threshold in 2006, for instance, the share has risen to 31 per cent in 2013. At the other end of the scale, these shares have also changed markedly. In 2006, almost 32 per cent of all new cars still exceeded the 180 g/km level; making it the emission category with the highest market share. In 2013, however, only 8 per cent of all cars register such high emission levels.”