Monday, 9 July 2012

BMW Attacks Efficiency Targets

BMW accused of hypocrisy over opposition to European car targets | Environment | guardian.co.uk:

BMW is lobbying to water down European plans to improve the fuel efficiency of cars at the same time as trumpeting its green credentials as the official car sponsor of the Olympic Games, according to internal documents seen by the Guardian.
According to this Guardian article, BMW want to delay or reduce implementation of Europe wide fuel efficiency targets for 2015 and 2020.  BMW believe that premium manufacturers (such as themselves) will be disadvantaged compared with manufacturers of normal cars. In other words people who can afford more expensive premium cars can afford the higher fuel prices and these wealthy people don't need to worry about climate change or limited supplies of oil.



That said the fuel efficiency targets will take many years to have an effect on overall carbon emissions, if in fact they do.  The tail pipe emissions which are targeted account for only about half of the carbon footprint of driving, with another third attributed to manufacturing, maintenance and disposal at end of its life and the remaining sixth covering the production and supply of fuel. There is a danger that cars will be scrapped earlier to be replace with more efficient models, writing off the carbon footprint of manufacture over a shorter lifespan or that people drive more for the same cost with more efficient cars. Also, as long as the carbon and resource footprint of manufacturer is left out of the equation, the net effect of fuel efficiency is significantly diluted.


As is so often the case, the targets are set to focus on a small part of a much bigger problem, in this case the fact that too many people drive too much, resulting in a failure to solve the real problem.  As this case shows, even that is long and difficult battle with those resistant to change.

Small changes don't make a big difference, we need big changes.

Related Posts:
http://ecowarriorme.blogspot.co.uk/2011/04/climate-change-myths-lots-of-small.html





4 comments:

  1. But until the big changes happen, the small changes do make a difference: For instance, it is the relentless pressure from EU governments that have the average fuel efficiency for new cars down to 40mpg in 2011 while the US average is 23mpg for May 2012 (US gallons not imperial).

    I find it heartening that the energy to manufacture a European car is fully one third of total life-cycle energy. For a post I did in October 2011 I discovered a comparable life-cycle analysis done for US cars showing that making the car is about 10% of the energy it takes to run it. This is because of the anemic fuel efficiency achieved here in the US.

    Getting US carbon emissions to where the EU is now would help immensely in curbing total US carbon emissions, given the fact that most of the country is now locked into living in suburbia: that infrastructure took fifty years to build and is not going to change overnight. Just look what a fight it took for California to decide in favour of building that much-overdue high-speed train line.

    Car manufacturers would protest carbon regulations. And they will tout their green credentials. But I found it interesting that European trade unions have welcomed the stricter standards for the extra and high-tech jobs that would bring.

    And of course, the Guardian would offer coverage like this :-) I wish more US news outlets would.

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    2. We do need to do the small changes and in the case of the US fuel efficiency will have a bigger effect due to the low starting point. Recent high fuel prices combined with the general economic malaise (low wage rises and uncertainty over jobs) has resulted in people driving a bit less. My concern is that if running costs come down due to fuel efficiency people will return to old habits and drive more. That is why we also need to look at the bigger picture: how to get people where they want to be most efficiently, and encourage them to want to be somewhere local.

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  2. I agree to this statement that Car manufacturers would protest carbon regulations. And they will tout their green credentials. But I found it interesting that European trade unions have welcomed the stricter standards for the extra and high-tech jobs that would bring.

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