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EU CO2 improvements stall as SUV uptake rises

Improvements in average new car CO2 emissions in the EU took a U-turn last year following growing uptake of crossover and SUV models – mainly diesel powered.

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The average CO2 emissions of a new car sold in the EU rose by 0.4 g/km last year to 118.5g/km

Although previous years had seen steady declines, average emissions for new registrations in 2017 were up by 0.4g/km compared to 2016, reaching a total of 118.5g/km, according to provisional data published today by the European Environment Agency (EEA). And in 17 EU Member States, average CO2 emissions were higher than in 2016.

According to the European Environment Agency, the average CO2 emissions from diesel cars rose from 116.8g/km in 2016 to 117.9g/km in 2017, while CO2 emissions from petrol cars remained flat (-0.1g/km).

Petrol overtook diesel to become the most popular fuel type since 2010, when monitoring started under current EU legislation. Petrol cars accounted for almost 53% of sales, while diesel cars made up 45%.

Despite the decline in diesels, the rise in CO2 was in part offset by the 42% increase in low carbon plug-in cars, as well as a decline in the CO2 gap between the average new diesel car (121.6g/km) and petrol (117.9g/km).

The figures echo trends seen in the UK where petrol accounted for more than half of Q1 fleet registrations, according to latest SMMT data. SMMT figures also show new car CO2 rose for the first time in 20 years in 2017.

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Jonathan Musk

Jonathan turned to motoring journalism in 2013 having founded, edited and produced Autovolt - one of the UK's leading electric car publications. He has also written and produced books on both Ferrari and Hispano-Suiza, while working as an international graphic designer for the past 15 years. As the automotive industry moves towards electrification, Jonathan brings a near-unrivalled knowledge of EVs and hybrids to Fleet World Group.