Sustainable mobility: how to foster electric cars sales and reduce CO2 emissions?

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The average of CO2 emissions from new passenger cars has substantially fallen in Europe in the last years, but a further reduction of 19.5% is necessary to comply with the 2021 target. Governmental political action is fundamental to achieve this goal.
According to the recent report by the European Environment Agency (EEA), CO2 emissions and the sales of electric cars are, in fact, strictly linked to the kind of policies put in place in the different countries.

The study provides a general framework for average CO2 emissions country by country and ranks them in two lists: among the 28 European countries, Portugal qualifies as the best one, recording the lowest levels of CO2 emissions (followed by the Netherlands, Denmark and Greece), while Estonia is at the bottom. In the classification of EEA member states, Norway ranks first and Switzerland last.

The report subsequently analyses some case studies to demonstrate that a lower average of CO2 emission and a higher level of sales of electric cars were registered in countries where taxes and incentives were put in place, while with absent or limited taxation and incentive systems countries recorded higher CO2 emissions.

Norway, for instance, turned out to be the European country with the lowest average of CO2 emissions and the highest percentage of battery electric cars (16%) in 2016, thanks to its active long-term policy of tax cuts and incentives in favor of electric car owners.

On the contrary, countries such as Poland, which do not provide for specific incentives and taxes on CO2 production and on sustainable vehicles, proved to be above the European average CO2 emissions.

Nevertheless, researchers also underline the importance of each peculiar national context in such an analysis. Greece, for example, saw a decrease in CO2 emissions, due to the economic crisis which lead consumers to buy lighter and cheaper cars.

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