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Emission Standards

EU: Cars: Greenhouse Gas Emissions—ACEA Agreements

This summary covers the historical ACEA CO2 agreements that are no longer binding—they have been replaced by mandatory CO2 emission regulations.


In 1998-99, to control greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the transportation sector, the European Commission signed voluntary agreements with the automotive industry to reduce the emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2). Since 2008-09—when regulations were adopted to control CO2 emissions from new light-duty vehicles—the voluntary agreements described in this article are no longer binding, and have only historical significance.

Three agreements were signed in 1998-99, with the following associations:

  • ACEA—European Automobile Manufacturers Association (Association des Constructeurs Européens d’Automobiles): BMW, DaimlerChrysler, Fiat, Ford, GM, Porsche, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Renault, VW Group.
  • JAMA—Japanese Automobile Manufacturers Association: Daihatsu, Honda, Isuzu, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, Suzuki, Toyota.
  • KAMA—Korean Automobile Manufacturers Association: Daewoo, Hyundai, Kia, Ssangyong.

Cars sold by the above companies represented about 90% of the total EU vehicle sales.

The agreements defined fleet-average CO2 emission targets from new cars sold in the European Union, to be reached collectively by the members of each association. Carbon dioxide was the only gas covered by the agreements, other climate change emissions were not controlled.

ACEA Agreement

The ACEA Agreement, signed in March 1998, included the following major provisions:

  1. CO2 emission target of 140 g/km to be reached by 2008 (this target represented a 25% reduction from the 1995 level of 186 g/km)
  2. Possibility to extend the agreement to 120 g CO2/km by 2012
  3. Intermediate target range of 165-170 g CO2/km by 2003
  4. Individual ACEA members to introduce models of 120 g CO2/km or less by 2000

The limits applied to the collective ACEA members’ fleet of new passenger cars (Category M1) produced or imported into the European Union. CO2 emissions were measured over the NEDC test.

Japanese and Korean manufacturers (JAMA and KAMA) signed similar commitments to that of ACEA, with the following differences:

  • JAMA and KAMA target of 140 g CO2/km was delayed by one year, to 2009
  • JAMA had a wider 2003 intermediate target range of 165-175 g CO2/km
  • KAMA intermediate target of 165-170 g CO2/km was delayed by one year, to 2004

The emission targets were to be met through technological advancements leading to increased fuel economy. The Commission estimated that the compliant fleet of passenger cars in 2008/09 would consume on average about 5.8 l gasoline/100 km or 5.25 l diesel/100 km. The CO2 agreements were an important factor driving the increased dieselization of the passenger car market in the EU.

Progress Monitoring

Progress toward the CO2 emission targets was monitored jointly by the European Commission and by ACEA. Annual progress reports were published by the Commission. ACEA progress through 2003 is illustrated and compared with the targets in Figure 1.

Figure 1. CO2 Reduction from Light-Duty Vehicles Under ACEA Agreement

Details on average CO2 emissions from new light-duty vehicles for 2003 are listed in Table 1. Data for the period of 2000-2009 is shown in Table 2.

Table 1
Average CO2 Emissions and Interim Targets (2003), g/km
 CO2 in 2003Reduction sinceInterim target
ACEA16317115411.9%1.2%165-170 (2003)
JAMA17217017712.2%1.1%165-175 (2003)
KAMA1791712019.1%2.2%165-170 (2004)
Table 2
Average CO2 Emissions (2000-2009), g/km
Note: CO2 figures for ACEA, JAMA and KAMA have been adjusted for the change in the test procedure (a 0.7% downward adjustment from the NEDC measurement), while the EU-27 figures are non-adjusted measurements (ECE+EUDC cycle according to Directive 93/116/EC).

In spite of the significant CO2 emission reductions achieved in the initial years and a 5% drop recorded in 2009 (in part due to economic recession), none of the three associations was able to reach the 140 g/km target by 2008/09 as indicated by the bold figures in Table 2. In 2009, the voluntary agreements were replaced by mandatory CO2 emission regulations from new light-duty vehicles.