Governments should address negative tax impact of new car emissions test

Brussels, 27 July 2017 – From 1 September this year, a new test for measuring emissions from cars, called WLTP, will officially apply to all new car types (models that are introduced on the European market for the first time). One year later, from September 2018, the lab test will be extended to all new cars sold across the EU. With little more than a month left, Europe’s auto manufacturers caution that consumers should not be faced with increased car taxation following the introduction of this new test.

WLTP will introduce much more realistic conditions for measuring emissions, such as CO2, than the current lab test (NEDC). It will therefore provide a more accurate basis for calculating a car’s fuel consumption and emissions. The switch to WLTP will also have implications on vehicle taxation.

Currently, 19 EU member states apply CO2 taxation to cars, based on the CO2 values from the lab test. Simply because it is more rigorous than the old test, WLTP will result in a higher CO2 value for a specific vehicle compared to NEDC. However, as the performance of the car itself will not be affected, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) calls on national governments to ensure that the transition to WLTP will not negatively impact vehicle taxation.

Even though WLTP will come into force this September, not all EU member states are adequately prepared for its introduction. If they simply apply the existing CO2-tax scheme to the new WLTP values, they will effectively put a new car type introduced to the market after September in a higher tax band than a similar car hitting the market just before that date.

“National governments need to act to ensure that CO2-based taxation will be fair, since WLTP will result in a higher CO2 value for the one and same vehicle compared to NEDC,” stated ACEA Secretary General, Erik Jonnaert. “If they fail to do so, the introduction of the new test procedure could increase the financial burden on consumers.”

For example, as of September 2017 one car model might still have a value of 100g CO2/km using the old NEDC test, but a recently approved car might come in at around 120g CO2/km under the new WLTP test. The cars are nearly identical, except one has the latest test results. If a country’s CO2-tax scheme were to remain unchanged, this would unjustly increase the tax burden on certain consumers and lead to overall confusion. Taxation systems need to be adapted to avoid this scenario.

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Notes for editors

  • More information about the new WLTP emissions test can be found on www.WLTPfacts.eu.
  • ACEA represents the 15 Europe-based car, van, truck and bus manufacturers: 
    BMW Group, DAF Trucks, Daimler, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford of Europe, Hyundai Motor Europe, Iveco, Jaguar Land Rover, Opel Group, PSA Group, Renault Group, Toyota Motor Europe, Volkswagen Group, Volvo Cars, and Volvo Group.
  • More information can be found on www.acea.be or @ACEA_eu

Contact
Cara McLaughlin, Communications Director, cm@acea.be, +32 2 738 73 45; +32 485 88 66 47.

About the EU automobile industry

  • 12.6 million people - or 5.7% of the EU employed population - work in the sector.
  • The 3.3 million jobs in automotive manufacturing represent almost 11% of EU manufacturing employment.
  • Motor vehicles account for almost €396 billion in tax contributions in the EU15.
  • The sector is also a key driver of knowledge and innovation, representing Europe's largest private contributor to R&D, with more than €50 billion invested annually.
  • The automobile industry generates a trade surplus of about €90 billion for the EU.