Surprise! Europeans support fuel efficiency

Here's a shocker: a recent opinion poll conducted in five EU countries and sponsored by Friends of the Earth (FoE) shows that European citizens support measures to force carmakers to reduce the fuel consumption of the cars they produce by 25 per cent without delay; this would mean that auto makers would have to lower their average CO2 emissions to 120 g/km. The poll shows that 87 percent of the interviewed people agreed with this statement. According to FoE, this shows that the European Parliament should vote for establishing the 120 g/km limit as soon as possible.
Other findings of this poll were that almost half of respondents said that automakers should be required to lower emissions. Also, two thirds believe that lowered fuel consumption would allow citizens to spend their money in other ways, which would help the economy (again, shocking). When asked what was the deciding factor when buying a car, fuel consumption was cited as the main factor (64 percent), followed by security (34 percent) and environmental credentials (26 percent).

TNS Opinion interviewed 5,000 citizens in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK. A website has been launched to promote this campaign for less polluting cars. Find the complete summary of the poll after the jump. Thanks to Jeroen for the tip.

[Source: For Less Polluting Cars]



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.

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 percent) 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). 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, espite 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. The 2008 Beetle 'Luna' 1.6 Petrol uses the same.

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 - – 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.

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