Speaking at a seminar in London on Friday hosted by the UK’s automotive trade body, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), an SMMT official said that the European auto industry is on target to achieve an average CO2 emissions figure for the new car fleet of 140g/km by 2008, writes just-auto managing editor Dave Leggett.

SMMT economics manager Matthew Croucher said that the growth of diesel’s share in Europe had already ensured that considerable progress has been made in moving forward to ACEA’s voluntary new car average target. The 2008 pan-European target has been agreed by car company members of ACEA, JAMA and KAMA and applies to cars sold in the EU area.

However, Croucher said that more needs to be done to ensure that the 140g/km emissions target is eventually hit, particularly with regard to promotion of hybrids and alternative fuel vehicles. He also said there were limits to diesel penetration in some car markets – such as the UK – where taxation rates applying to diesel cars and their use are considerably less favourable than in, say, France where diesel penetration of the new car market is approximately 60%.

ACEA’s estimated target range for CO2 emisions from new cars in Europe in 2003 is 165-170g/km – representing a 9-11% reduction compared with 1995. If achieved, 2008’s figure of 140g/km would be a 25% reduction compared to 1995.

ACEA has said that it will review in 2003 the potential for additional improvements in CO2 emissions in Europe’s new car fleet average towards 120g/km by 2012.