Corona stops slight downward trend on carbon emission

The Corona pandemic and its consequences have shaken up the German car market. After the disastrous months of March and April, only about half the amount of new cars were registered in May 2020 compared to May 2019. JATO Dynamics has analysed whether the changes in registrations have had an impact on average CO2 emissions*. As a matter of fact 95 per cent of new cars in the European Union, with or without Corona, are since the beginning of the year only allowed to emit a maximum of 95 grams of CO2 per kilometre on fleet average. Manufacturers who exceed this must pay – 95 euros per gram per car. In March we had already shown an initial trend and calculated the average monthly emission values for the past year.

2020 began hopefull, although not record-breaking. After the fleet average in January was at almost 127 g CO2/km, so still more than 30 g/km above the target value, it fell by a good one percentage point in February. Then came Corona. And sales collapsed completely. All of a sudden this led to completely different conditions. New registrations in Germany fell by 38 percent in March. April was even harder. The market shrank by almost two thirds. And the slight downward trend in CO2 values was also halted. In March the average was at 126.4 and in April 126.2 g CO2/km. Not dramatic, but no progress either. However, this figure does not include so-called supercredits for electric vehicles (BEV, PHEV), so the values would naturally be somewhat lower. It is interesting to note that the values for diesel vehicles – at 132.9 (March) and 133.6 (April) – changed only slightly compared to the 132.1 g CO2/km in February. The figures for petrol cars were different, however: they rose from 128.3 (February) to 130.5 (March) and 130.7 g CO2/km (April). One possible reason could have been the significantly higher average engine power of the vehicles sold. It remains to be seen whether the CO2 downward trend will return with a normalisation of conditions in the car trade. At the moment everything is possible.

All figures are taken from the JATO Emissions Performance Report, which provides monthly data for 16 European countries. The report can be ordered from JATO Dynamics.

* Average weighted CO2 emissions according to NEDC taking into account individual manufacturer targets and supercredits on a monthly basis. Supercredits are allowances in the calculation of average specific CO2 emissions: Emission-free and low emission vehicles up to 50g CO2/km count more with a certain factor. The calculation used for the figures shown refers to the EU limit for 2021: 100% target fulfilment and supercredit factor 1.67.

Total average CO2, volume weighted


Total average by fuel type (Electrified = BEV + HEV + PHEV)


Average engine power volume-weighted

Natl gas107,05105,95104,82109,31110,61106,03107,38110,64

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