The European Commission (EC) has announced a 5pc drop in CO2 emissions from new cars sold in the European Union (EU) last year.
The EC call this the "biggest annual fall ever recorded" in a report that summarises data on emissions from new passenger cars for 2009, and can only be improved upon when the electric vehicle mass roll-out takes place.
The Commission report shows a 5.1pc drop in average CO2 emissions against the previous year – which is the largest annual fall since the monitoring scheme began in 2000.
Climate Action Commissioner, Connie Hedegaard, said: “Reducing CO2 emissions from road transport remains a major challenge for the years to come.
“The latest data shows, however, that the car industry is on track to achieve the 2015 target and most likely several major manufacturers will be able to do so well in advance, keeping the EU industry at the front edge of competitiveness.”
Carbon emission reductions
Carbon emission reductions are now at the heart of the automotive industry design mindset; with nearly all major manufacturers producing electric or hybrid models in order to meet 2015 targets and help reduce the environmental impact of motoring.
The introduction of an electric charging infrastructure and the release of electric vehicles, such as the Nissan LEAF, which goes on sale in Ireland in February 2011, will no doubt bolster the drive to achieve EU 2015 carbon targets.
Road transport generates about one-fifth of all CO2 emissions in the EU, with cars being responsible for more than half of overall transport emissions.
CO2 emissions from road transport rose by 29pc between 1990 and 2007, notably due to increases both in the number of vehicles on the roads, as well as in distances driven annually, according to the Commission.