26 Jul 2019, 13:43
Benjamin Wehrmann

Germans choose fuel-guzzling cars, pushing up CO2 emissions

Clean Energy Wire

The intensifying public debate over climate change in Germany isn’t boosting sales of low-emission cars, German energy agency dena says. The share of new car sales in highest efficiency category fell 5 percentage points between 2016 and 2018, to 69 percent. The biggest sales growth was in heavy, fuel-intensive SUVs and all-terrain vehicles. SUV sales in 2018 were up more than 21 percent compared to the previous year. The total number of new car registrations remained steady at 3.4 million. Overall, the average CO2 emissions of new cars was up 2 percent between 2017 and 2018, dena says. This is at odds with the government’s goal of bringing down greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors and “should give policymakers, carmakers and customers food for thought -- and maybe serve as a wake-up call,” dena head Andreas Kuhlmann said. Kuhlmann said action was needed to make low-emission cars more attractive to buyers and to counter the preference for ever larger cars among customers.

Germany aims to cut transport emissions 40 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels, but is yet to make any progress towards this target. That could mean the country having to pay substantial fines to the EU. There have already been calls for a limit on SUV sales in Germany.

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