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European poll shows huge public support for fuel efficient cars.
 29.08.2008 15:11:01
Campaign urges MEPs to vote for fuel efficiency

Campaign urges MEPs to vote for fuel efficiency

Brussels, 28 August 2008 - Making manufacturers produce cleaner cars is the best way to bring down climate changing emissions from Europe's cars, and urgent action on fuel efficiency should be taken by the European Union, according a majority of people around Europe. [1]

An opinion poll conducted in five EU countries shows overwhelming support among citizens for measures to force carmakers to reduce the fuel consumption of the cars they produce by 25 per cent without delay. The results come ahead of decisive votes in the European Parliament on a proposed new legally-binding target for new car CO2 emissions.

The poll - carried out by TNS Opinion - probed close to 5000 people in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK. An overwhelming majority (87 per cent) stated that measures to reduce the fuel consumption of new cars by a quarter - equivalent to the 120g CO2/km target being discussed by MEPs - should be introduced urgently.

Almost half (46 per cent) of respondents think that requiring manufacturers to reduce the fuel consumption of vehicles is the best way to reduce harmful emissions from cars, ahead of tax incentives (27 per cent) and promoting fuel-efficient cars through better information (13 per cent).

Also, around two thirds (64 per cent) of citizens support the statement that such measures will be good for their national economy because people will buy less fuel and have more money to spend on other things. Respondents listed fuel consumption (64 per cent) as the most important factor, apart from price, when choosing a new car. Safety was second (37 per cent) and environmentally clean third (26 per cent).

The findings seem to show that citizens don't buy carmakers' claims that the proposed legislation would damage their industry.

German respondents felt the most strongly that requiring manufacturers to reduce fuel consumption was the best way to improve efficiency, despite the German car industry's attempts to weaken the planned legislation.

"Citizens are sending a loud and clear message to politicians and carmakers to shift fuel efficiency up a gear," says Jeroen Verhoeven, car efficiency campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe. "Car fuel efficiency is a simple, effective and sustainable way to reduce Europe's climate changing emissions. MEPs should listen to their constituents and vote for a regulation which is guaranteed to deliver a 25 per cent reduction in fuel consumption by 2012."

The lack of progress by the car industry on fuel efficiency is highlighted in a new advertising campaign launched today by Friends of the Earth Europe and Transport and Environment (T&E). [2] The two environmental groups are calling on MEPs to vote for fuel efficiency targets (120g CO2/km by 2012 and 80g CO2/km by 2020).

The adverts show the 1948 and 2008 models of the Volkswagen Beetle which, despite sixty years of advances in automobile design, share the same level of fuel efficiency. The post-war Beetle used 7.5 litres per 100 km driven (3). The 2008 Beetle 'Luna' 1.6 Petrol uses the same [4].

Kerstin Meyer of T&E states: "For the last six decades, carmakers have been innovative in everything but fuel efficiency. And they have failed to notice that times have changed. We need fuel efficient cars that minimise impacts on the environment."

"If new cars were twice as efficient as they are today, we'd be on the right track. It's up to MEPs to set the targets, and to Europe's top automotive talent to produce the goods," she adds.

A website - www.forlesspollutingcars.com - has been launched where people can ask MEPs to support car fuel efficiency and read more about the EU's proposals.

The European Environment Agency estimates that cars are responsible for 14 per cent of CO2 emissions [5].

***

For more information please contact:

Jeroen Verhoeven, Car Efficiency Campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe, +32 2542 6101 and +32 477 463181 (Belgian mobile), jeroen.verhoeven[at]}foeeurope.org

Francesca Gater, Communications Officer, Friends of the Earth Europe, +32 2 542 6105 and +32 485 930 515 (Belgian mobile), francesca.gater[at]foeeurope.org

***

Notes to editors

(1) Click here for the full results of the opinion poll.

(2) The FOEE / T&E campaign will run in the European Voice newspaper and on Euractiv.Com.

Click here to view the ads online.

(3) 1948 Volkswagen Beetle (Type 11), 7.5 litres / 100km "Average running", source: Volkswagen Type 11 "Instruction Book", pg 5, 1948;

(4) 2008 Volkswagen New Beetle Luna 1.6 Petrol, 7.5 litres / 100km (EU combined), source: www.volkswagen.de

(5) http://tinyurl.com/5hrwod

For more information see Friends of the Earth Europe's position paper on setting CO2 emission performance standards for new passenger cars and background information on the Cars Directive.

 

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