Carmakers could pull models from the UK, the automotive industry has warned, as the British taste for polluting vehicles clashes with the difficulty of meeting post-Brexit carbon dioxide limits.
Under new EU rules, average carbon dioxide emissions of almost all cars sold in 2020 and 2021 across the single market, including the UK, must fall below 95g per kilometre, with major fines for those carmakers who miss individual targets designed to meet the goal.
That means that the heavier, fuel-guzzling SUVs favoured by Britons are offset by the smaller, less polluting cars preferred in countries such as Italy. After Brexit, when the UK plans to copy EU rules, this will no longer be the case, making a UK-only limit harder to hit.
Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the car industry lobby group, said: “[Carmakers] will have to look at their model mix […] you’ve got to see whether that’s economic. The fines are going to be severe and all of them will do everything they can to avoid that.
“It could be that you see a reduction in consumer choice through the removal of higher-emitting vehicles from not just the top end, but particular segments.”
While having to pull models from sale would be a blow to the car industry, the rules could prove to be environmentally effective if they reduce car sales of the most polluting models. Cars account for just over 18% of UK emissions, according to government figures, and action in the transport sector is seen as crucial to cutting emissions to 51% of 1990 levels by 2025 and to reach net zero by 2050.
Read more via The Guardian