One of the reasons that automakers are working so diligently on making more fuel efficient vehicles is because we're forcing them to. We, through our elected officials, have set certain standards that they have to meet in order to sell their wares. One of the strongest is the CO2 emissions limits set by the European Commission in 2008: 130 grams of CO2 per kilometer by 2015. The bad news? The EC might be backpedaling.
According to Reuters, the EC might allow the rules to expand a bit to take things other than a car's simple emissions number into account. Those things include "infrastructure, driver behaviour and other measures," and the idea comes from documents written up by policy group CARS 21. No, we're not sure what infrastructure means in this situation either, but the documents should be released tomorrow. CARS 21 includes members of various EU governing bodies as well as auto executives and trade union representatives.
130 grams of CO2 per kilometer is roughly equivalent to 43.5 miles per U.S. gallon in a gasoline car and 48.3 mpg using diesel. So, those are the targets the automakers say they can't hit, even though they had over six years to get ready.