Volvo is calling for all dealers to show two environmental labels on the cars they sell – one for CO2 and one for all the other tailpipe emissions.
The carmaker says the focus on cars’ CO2 emissions is diverting attention away from other more harmful emissions. It has launched a three-point plan aimed at providing car buyers with a broad range of emissions information - irrespective of marque.
It wants other carmakers to join it in showing the second label, which details total emissions information alongside the current label detailing CO2 emissions. This is already done in the US.
UK air quality is so poor that the UK may get a £300 million fine in the European Court for failing to meet air quality standards. It’s the non-CO2 emissions that are affecting immediate air quality and health, says Volvo.
“We all think we know what a ‘green’ car is. But the Government’s data tells us that if we take all of the emissions from a cars’ exhaust into consideration, we get to a very different picture of a ‘green’ car, and that’s because the green car debate still focuses on CO2 rather than a holistic view of all emissions,” explains Peter Rask, Volvo Car UK managing director.
Very low CO2-emitting cars can produce huge quantities of other harmful emissions. For example, a 1.4-litre Fiat 500 Start Stop produces 484mg/km of non-CO2 emissions, which is more than twice as much as a 2.5-litre petrol manual Volvo estate (201mg/km).
Meanwhile, the auto industry is cleaning up its act in relation to how it advertises ‘green’ cars.
The Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership, Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders and the advertising industry body, ISBA, have joined forces to launch best practice principles for environmental claims in marketing.
They provide a framework and reference point for automotive companies and their marketing companies when developing environmental messages used in advertising and marketing.
DEFRA parliamentary under-secretary Lord Henley said: “Good environmental information is important to help consumers choose genuinely better products and for businesses to gain fair recognition of their achievements. Those benefits can be so easily undermined if consumers see confusing or misleading ‘green’ claims in the market.”
The recommendations say that environmental claims should all be substantiated with supporting evidence from approved, independent sources.