ENVI Committee backs life-cycle approach to vehicle emissions

The European Parliament’s Environment Committee (ENVI) supports a life-cycle approach (LCA) in evaluating CO2 emissions from passenger cars. Members approved draft legislation yesterday that calls for taking into account “greenhouse gas emissions associated with energy supply and the life cycle of the vehicle" for regulations after 2020.

EUROFER, the European Steel Association, welcomes this recommendation. As opposed to current legislation, which concentrates on CO2 emissions from driving a vehicle only, LCA would also assess embedded emissions from the production phase and the end-of-life phase of new passenger cars.

Concentrating on the use-phase of a vehicle is also known as tailpipe approach. As a growing number of studies demonstrate, tailpipe emissions regulations incentivise deployment of technologies that improve cars’ CO2 emissions performance during the driving phase. This one-sided approach has the unintended consequence of increasing greenhouse-gas emissions during the vehicle’s total life cycle.

This happens, for example, by favouring so-called lightweight materials, the production of which can cause more CO2 emissions than the materials may save in the terms of tailpipe emissions. Recycling and re-use of materials is another aspect of sustainability and climate protection that cannot be evaluated by measuring use-phase emissions only.

EUROFER Director General Gordon Moffat: “The European steel industry has contributed significantly to reducing CO2 emissions from passenger cars in the last decades. Modern high-strength steels have been the most successful materials for weight reduction, especially in the volume segments of the car market. A life-cycle perspective including material production and recycling will show that steel’s role as one of the most sustainable materials for vehicle manufacture is even more important than it is perceived today.”

Represented by EUROFER, the European steel industry is a world leader in its sector with a turnover of EUR 170 billion and direct employment of 360 thousand highly skilled people, producing on average 190 million tonnes of steel per year. More than 500 steel production and processing sites in 23 EU member states provide direct and indirect employment and a living for millions of European citizens.


Gordon Moffat, Director General +32 2 738 79 26 (g.moffat@eurofer.be

Bernd Overmaat, Communications Manager, +32 2 738 79 32 (b.overmaat@eurofer.be)

The European Steel Association (EUROFER AISBL)

Avenue de Cortenbergh, 172
B-1000 Brussels

Tel.: +32 2 738 79 20
Fax.: +32 2 738 79 55