The European auto industry has asked the European Union (EU) to delay implementation of its CO2 emissions rules because the impact of the coronavirus is causing short-term mayhem in the industry.

The rules start this year, get harsher in 2025, and demand an effective average fuel economy of 92 miles per U.S. gallon by 2030.

The European Automobile Manufacturers Association, plus the tyre makers, suppliers and dealers associations made the plea in a letter to Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission dated March 25.

“No production, development, testing or homologation work occurs for the time being (because of the impact of the coronavirus). This upsets the plans we had made to prepare ourselves for complying with existing and future EU laws and regulations within the applicable deadlines set in these regulations. We believe therefore that some adjustment would need to be made to the timing of these laws,” the letter said.

“Please be assured, however, that it is not our intention to question the laws as such nor the underlying objectives of road safety, climate change mitigation and protection of the environment.  Looking into the future, industry and policy makers must together, and in a timely manner, start planning for the period beyond the immediate health crisis,” the letter said.

The EU Commission hasn’t replied to a question seeking its reaction to this plea.

Brussels-based environmental lobby group Transport & Environment wasn’t happy, saying that such a plea is unfounded and potentially damaging for the long-term sustainability and competitiveness of the car industry in Europe.        



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