* EU car makers meet pollution targets early
* Tests on car emissions done in laboratories, not real
* Campaigners demand stricter tests
By Barbara Lewis
BRUSSELS, April 30 New cars sold in the European
Union were four percent cleaner in 2013 than the previous year,
data from the European Environment Agency (EEA) showed on
Wednesday, although environmental campaigners said the
improvement was exaggerated.
The decline in carbon dioxide emissions from cars to an
average of 127 grams per kilometre (g/km) means car-makers
easily achieved the European Union target of cutting emissions
to 130 g/km two years ahead of a 2015 deadline.
Set in 2008, that target was Europe's first legally-binding
cars CO2 standard. It was cut further late last year, after
months of haggling, to 95 g/km by 2021 - the toughest car
pollution standard in the world.
Commission research has shown EU car manufactures have
exploited test loopholes to make their cars seem more fuel
efficient than they are in real-world driving conditions.
Techniques such as using tyres with extra traction or
driving on an unrealistically smooth road surface could account
for about a third of the recorded drop in average carbon dioxide
(CO2) emissions across the European Union between 2002 and 2010,
the research found.
Industry has repeatedly resisted more rigorous goals, which
require it to invest in fuel-efficiency technology to cut
emissions blamed for pollution and health problems as well as
The 2021 deadline was a year later than the European
Commission, the EU executive, had proposed after Germany, home
to makers of luxury cars, such as Daimler and BMW
, led the calls for more time.
Campaign group Transport and Environment (T&E) urged the
Commission to introduce new vehicle testing rules sooner rather
"Fuel efficiency standards for vehicles are Europe's single
most effective policy to drive down CO2 emissions, but are being
undermined by an obsolete test," Greg Archer, clean vehicles
manager at T&E, said.
For 2013, the EEA's figures showed average emissions across
the EU fleet were 127 g/km compared with 132.2g/km in 2012, but
it also said rising traffic volumes will mean cleaner cars are
only part of the answer.
Overall transport emissions rose by about 17.2 percent
between 1990 and 2012 and they account for about one fifth of
the EU's total CO2 emissions, the EEA said.
"We need to think about more sustainable transport systems -
the car cannot solve all our problems in the 21st Century," EEA
Executive Director Hans Bruyninckx said.
The numbers are provisional because although the collective
target has been met, inspectors have not yet checked whether
individual carmakers have met their individual goals.
Final figures for 2012 released last year were less than
0.01 g different from the provisional ones.
(Editing by William Hardy)