Cool cars, fancy fuels

In light of rising CO2 emissions in the transport sector, the Dutch branch of the World Wide Fund for Nature, WNF, has decided to launch a campaign that focuses attention on the CO2 emissions of cars. WNF asked CE Delft to write a research document providing the scientific knowledge base required for this campaign.

This report first provides background information on the historical development of CO2 emissions from passenger cars. It then describes the current situation regarding mitigation, on a national and on an international (EU) level. Finally, technological developments with respect to fuel efficient vehicles and low-carbon fuels are described.

Fuel efficient cars are on sale today, and the technology is available to reduce the fuel consumption (and thus CO2 emissions) of new passenger cars further. However, additional government incentives are needed to boost the development and sales of more fuel-efficient cars. Biofuels are currently the only feasible option for significantly reducing the CO2 emissions of fuels. The present average cost effectiveness of biofuels is not particularly attractive, but there is significant potential for improvement, particularly with new biofuel processes. Policies are needed to guarantee the sustainability of the biofuels used and to encourage development and use of biofuels with superior environmental performance.