Germany’s G20 leadership could expand international cooperation on vehicle efficiency
Impacts of world class vehicle efficiency and emissions regulations in select G20 countries
In 2014, the G20 Energy Efficiency Action Plan prioritized the establishment of a Transport Task Group (TTG) to promote cooperation among participating G20 countries to develop domestic policies that improve the energy efficiency and environmental performance of motor vehicles, particularly heavy-duty vehicles. Led by the United States, the TTG currently includes Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the European Union (with Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom also participating individually), India, Japan, Mexico, and Russia.
This briefing characterizes the climate and health benefits of adopting world-class standards for new vehicle efficiency/CO2 and conventional pollutant emissions in all members of the G20 TTG. We find that new world-class vehicle efficiency standards applied in all TTG members could mitigate direct emissions from fuel combustion by an additional 2.4 GtCO2 beyond the 2.0 GtCO2 estimated to be avoided in 2040 under existing adopted vehicle efficiency standards. This additional mitigation potential is evenly split between light-duty vehicles (LDVs) and heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs). The rate of growth in vehicle populations worldwide—coupled with their cost-effective CO2 mitigation potential (achievable with fuel savings)—indicates that policies to improve vehicle efficiency should be a core component of meeting countries’ climate targets, including INDCs.
For conventional pollutants, we find that implementing world-class emissions standards for LDVs and HDVs in the six TTG members that have not yet implemented these standards could reduce fine particle-related health impacts in these countries by two thirds and avoid 60,000 premature deaths in urban areas alone annually by 2030. Once world-class emissions standards are implemented across all G20 members, we estimate that nearly 90% of new LDVs and HDVs sold worldwide will meet the standards, compared to about only half of new vehicles sold today. These standards will result in additional climate co-benefits by reducing emissions of black carbon, a component of fine particle emissions.
The significant climate and health benefits demonstrated by this analysis bolster the rationale for G20 countries to continue improvements in new vehicle efficiency and lower conventional pollutant emissions from LDVs and HDVs. In particular, given that G20 members account for 90% of new vehicles sold in the world today (and more than 80% for TTG members), TTG members have considerable capacity to transform the global vehicle market and, ultimately, most of the vehicles on the road. The analysis also reinforces the importance of both light- and heavy-duty vehicles in securing future CO2 reductions from on-road vehicles.