German parties call for limiting SUV sales as share of high-emission cars soars
Die Welt / Clean Energy Wire
Due to the rising number of sport utility vehicles (SUVs) in Germany, the governing Social Democrats (SPD), the Green Party and the Left Party have called for limiting the growth in SUV sales citing these vehicles’ high emissions levels, the newspaper Die Welt reports. According to calculations by the Center Automotive Research at the University of Duisburg-Essen, the heavy car models now account for nearly one-third of new car registrations in the country and continue to expand their market share. Carmakers should therefore be urged to “advertise low-emissions vehicles in order to abide by the legal limit values for air pollution,” SPD transport politician Kirsten Lühmann told the newspaper. Left Party transport politician Ingrid Remmers said it was absurd that a car “with a weight of 1.9 tonnes is being used to drive around people with an average weight of 80 kilograms.” The Green Party advocates a road toll system with increasing prices for high-emission vehicles and based on mileage.
Meanwhile, the European Environment Agency (EEA) has found that the average carbon emissions of new cars in Europe increased in 2018 for the second year in a row, now reaching 120.4 grams of CO2 per kilometre. One of the main factors of the trend that runs counter to European climate targets is the growing share of petrol cars, “in particular in the SUV segment,” the EEA said.
Car emissions in Germany have remained stubbornly high in the past decades, leading to calls to seek more drastic measures in the sector. However, the country’s leading carmaker Volkswagen declared that it intends to use the high earnings from SUV sales to finance the investment needed in electric mobility and self-driving cars.