Why are car companies trying to block laws that would save us money and protect the climate?

Posted by bex — 10 May 2012 at 10:43am - Comments
Volkswagen is lobbying against critical environmental laws
All rights reserved. Credit: Greenpeace / Pedro Armestre
Volkswagen is lobbying against critical environmental laws

With fuel prices at record levels and predicted to keep rising, you’d think that new European proposals to stem drivers’ costs and reduce emissions would be welcomed by all. But major car companies like VW are opposing these laws – so today we released a new report detailing how increasing efficiency will benefit both the public and the climate.

The best defence against soaring petrol prices is to use less petrol. And the best way to do that - besides driving less - is to improve the fuel efficiency of new cars.

Right now, the EU is discussing how much more fuel efficient our cars need to become. They’ll be making a decision this summer. In the run up to that decision, major car companies including Volkswagen are opposing the efficiency proposals and, if they win, they’ll leave Britain reliant on fuel-hungry cars - with all the high fuel costs, high emissions, and reliance on foreign oil imports and dangerous drilling that inefficient vehicles entail.

With EU politicians caught between protecting the interests of industry lobbyists and the interests of their own people, we decided to make sure they have the full facts at their disposal. We asked an independent expert to calculate the savings that British - and other European - drivers can expect to make under a couple of fuel efficiency scenarios. The findings are compelling:

If the existing EU efficiency law is confirmed (ie car-makers are forced to reduce their average C02 emissions to 95g/km by 2020), British drivers’ average annual fuel costs will drop from £1,731 to £1,335 (in today’s money) by 2020.

If EU governments decide to go a step further and tighten the target to 60g CO2/km by 2025, fuel costs will drop to just £685 by 2030. That’s an average saving of over £1000 per year.

Setting ambitious, long-term efficiency targets of 60g CO2/km is a no-brainer: it’s better for individuals, better for the climate and better for Britain's energy independence. Yet Volkswagen is still opposing the targets - and there's a very real danger that politicians might listen to them.

Over 500,000 people have already asked VW to turn away from the Dark Side and embrace an energy efficient future. Join the rebellion here.

Follow Greenpeace UK