Brussels, 2 December 2008 - Commenting on the agreement reached last night by European decision-makers on a new regulation on cars and CO2, Jeroen Verhoeven, car efficiency campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe said:
“This is a profoundly wrong outcome on a vital piece of climate legislation. Instead of making the car industry put its foot down and speed up progress in making smarter cars that use less fuel, European politicians have decided to let it continue to coast along at its own pace for a few more years with a regulation riddled with delays, loopholes and concessions. Self-interested industry lobbying, supported by a few key countries, has won the day and the interests of the planet and its people have clearly come a very poor second."
An opinion poll conducted in five EU countries for Friends of the Earth Europe showed 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 poll probed close to 5000 people in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK. An overwhelming majority (87 per cent) stated that measures to reduce the fuel consumption of new cars by a quarter - equivalent to 120g CO2/km - should be introduced urgently. 
Magda Stoczkiewicz, Director of Friends of the Earth Europe said: "It is scary to see how far removed European politicians are from the electorate. European citizens are crying out for more efficient cars, which would be good news for their wallets as well as the environment. But politicians have ignored public opinion and rushed full speed into a
dead-end compromise deal. A tough regulation, delivering the greener cars that people want and need, could have put the European car industry ahead of the game. But what we have got is business as usual.”
The compromise agreed yesterday which sets a 130g C02/km target for 2015 and a 95g target by 2020 is not very likely to deliver these goals due to the weak penalties for companies which do not respecting the limits, as well as a multitude of loopholes . Friends of the Earth Europe had called for 120g CO2/km by 2012 and 80g CO2/km by 2020.
Click on pictures for print-quality, high resolution versions. Friends of the Earth Europe used two Volkswagen Beetles - separated by 60 years of innovation but with the same fuel consumption - to call on MEPs to 'shift fuel efficiency up a gear'. (Photo credit: Lode Saidane/FoE Europe)
Notes to editors