EU Carmakers Can't Buy a Break, CO2-wise
Reuters reports that European Commissioner Guenter Verheugen has a stark message for automakers hoping to cope with tough new emissions limits by paying cash in lieu of compliance: fuhgeddaboutit. "The Commission has decided that its [legislative] proposal should not distort competition among the producers," Verheugen revealed. "This cannot be reconciled with payments of compensation." Quite how "payments of compensation" differ from old-fashioned "fines" is anybody's guess. Meanwhile, the European auto industry is lobbying hard against the new rules, which force carmakers to cut new cars' carbon dioxide emissions to a fleet average of 130 grams per km by 2012. The automakers are asking the EU to postpone the requirements until 2015. They've also suggested an integrated approach to curbing CO2 emissions that would include improved infrastructure, driver training, expanded reliance on biofuels and CO2-related taxes on cars and fuels. The theoretical space between a rock and a hard place was not mentioned.