BRUSSELS, April 20 (Xinhua) — The European Environment Agency said Thursday that the fuel efficiency improvement of new cars sold in the European Union (EU) last year was the smallest annual improvement in the last decade.
According to the agency’s data, the average CO2 emissions of a new car sold in the bloc in 2016 was 118.1 grams of CO2 per kilometer, which decreased by 1.4 grams of CO2 per km, or 1.2 percent, from 2015.
Though the fuel efficiency of new cars sold in the EU continued to improve, new cars sold in 2016 emitted more than 23 grams of CO2 per km above the 2021 target. Thus, annual improvement in vehicle efficiency needs to significantly increase in each of the coming five years to achieve the average emissions target of 95 grams of CO2 per km by 2021, said the environment agency.
The mass of a vehicle is a key factor affecting emissions, as heavier vehicles tend to emit more CO2 per km. The average mass of new cars sold in 2016 in the EU increased to 1,388 kg, said the agency.
Notably, sales of battery electric vehicles continued to increase, though at a slower rate. According to the agency, around 64,000 pure battery electric vehicles were sold in 2016, representing a 13-percent increase compared to sales of 57,000 in 2015.
However, electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles still remain a small fraction of total sales, accounting for only 1.1 percent of all new cars sold in the EU, data showed. Combined sales of these vehicles fell by around 3,200 compared to 2015.