As part of its efforts to reach the targets of the Kyoto Protocol, the European Commission published in December 2008 a resolution on a new directive to reduce the per-kilometer CO2 emissions of newly registered automobiles. This paper critically assesses this resolution with respect to its economic and technological underpinnings. We argue that the resolution’s reliance on per-kilometer emissions targets not only conceals the true costs of compliance and thereby stifles informed public discourse, but is also less cost-effective than alternative measures such as emissions trading. We examine the resolution’s underlying assumptions, finding that these misrepresent the current state of automotive technology and therefore may overestimate the feasibility of achieving the suggested emissions targets. Three alternative targets are consequently proposed that are argued to more accurately reflect the industry’s current technological status and its future evolution.
© 2008 by Lucius & Lucius, Stuttgart