Data from the European Environment Agency (EEA) suggests that the German amd British van markets are skewed towards bigger and more CO2 emissions intensive vans than the European average.

The EEA says that 2014 saw an 18% increase in new van registrations in the EU, with 1.4m new vehicles on the road. These vehicles are on average 2.4% more fuel-efficient than those sold in 2013, and emit 4 grams of CO2 less per kilometre.

The average van registered in 2014 emits 169.2 grams of CO2 per kilometre, 6 grams below the EU's 2017 target.

But Germany (190.4 g CO2/km), and the United Kingdom (181 g CO2/km), which together accounted for 36% of the EU's new van sales in 2014, preferred models whose CO2 emissions far exceed the EU average and the 2017 target.

Overall emissions performance for new vehicles is better in the pre-2004 member states, with some notable exceptions. Models sold in Portugal (145.1 g CO2/km), Malta (145.7 g CO2/km) and Bulgaria (148.6 g CO2/km) have the lowest average CO2 emissions, while those sold in Slovakia (193.3 gCO2/km) and the Czech Republic (191.1 g CO2/km) emit the most CO2 per kilometre.

Transport is responsible for almost a quarter of Europe's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, making it the second most carbon intensive sector after energy. Over 70% of the sector's GHG emissions come from road transport.

Since 1990, emissions have dropped across all sectors apart from transport, where they continued to rise until 2007. Improvements to vehicle fuel-efficiency have helped reverse the trend, the EEA says.