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CO2 labelling of passenger cars in Europe: Status, challenges, and future prospects


  • Haq, Gary
  • Weiss, Martin


Directive 1999/94/EC requires Member States of the European Union (EU) to ensure that consumers are informed about the fuel consumption and CO2 emissions of new passenger cars. The European Commission is currently evaluating the directive. In support of this effort, we assess the status of car labelling in the EU. We find that all EU Member States have formally implemented national car labelling schemes. However, relevant information is not presented to consumers in a uniform manner. Only 13 Member States have implemented graphic labels that differ in their design, metrics, and classification of vehicles. The fuel consumption data displayed to consumers underrate yearly fuel costs in the order of several hundred Euros per car. We argue that car labelling can be made more effective if Member States adopt: (i) a uniform label that mirrors, as far as feasible, the design of the EU energy label, (ii) data and classification metrics that accurately reflect the fuel consumption and CO2 emissions observed by consumers, and (iii) a labelling scale that allows differentiation between efficient hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles. By following these recommendations, the European car labelling can receive wider recognition and foster well-informed consumer choices.

Suggested Citation

  • Haq, Gary & Weiss, Martin, 2016. "CO2 labelling of passenger cars in Europe: Status, challenges, and future prospects," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 324-335.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:95:y:2016:i:c:p:324-335
    DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2016.04.043

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Thøgersen, John, 2018. "Transport-related lifestyle and environmentally-friendly travel mode choices: A multi-level approach," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 166-186.
    2. Charu Grover & Sangeeta Bansal & Adan L. Martinez-Cruz, "undated". "Influence of Social Network Effect and Incentive on Choice of Star Labeled Cars in India: A Latent Class Approach based on Choice Experiment," Centre for International Trade and Development, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi Discussion Papers 18-05, Centre for International Trade and Development, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India.
    3. Chalet, David & Lesage, Matisse & Cormerais, Mickaël & Marimbordes, Thierry, 2017. "Nodal modelling for advanced thermal-management of internal combustion engine," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 190(C), pages 99-113.
    4. Aderiana Mutheu Mbandi & Jan R. Böhnke & Dietrich Schwela & Harry Vallack & Mike R. Ashmore & Lisa Emberson, 2019. "Estimating On-Road Vehicle Fuel Economy in Africa: A Case Study Based on an Urban Transport Survey in Nairobi, Kenya," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(6), pages 1-28, March.


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