Ireland Faces EU Penalties For Increased Carbon Emissions

Ireland Faces EU Penalties For Increased Carbon Emissions

Mar 14, 2018

Ireland Faces EU Penalties For Increased Carbon Emissions experts have revealed that despite a significant increase in fuel efficient vehicles, Ireland are facing stiff EU penalties for increased carbon emissions as a result of increased car usage. discovered that all new vehicles sold in Ireland between 1998 and 2017 have increased in efficiency by 35 per cent, from 6.98 litres per 100KMs in 1998 (“l/100”) to 4.53 l/100 in 2017. The most significant increase was recorded between 2007 and 2017, when efficiency figures jumped from 6.56 (l/100) to 4.53 (l/100) an increase of 31 per cent. This increase correlated with the Government’s Carbon Budget in 2007 and the change in the Motor Taxation regime for 2008 to benefit fuel efficient vehicles.

Ireland has been faced with significant fines as a result of a “serious rise in greenhouse gas emissions”. This has been partly attributed to the transport sector where emissions increased by 3.7 per cent in 2016, despite fuel efficiency figures for new cars improving by 2.2 per cent between 2015 and 2016.

According to, the average annualised mileage travelled by a 5 year old car or less in 2016 was 21,028 KMs, representing an increase of 7.1 per cent for 2008 (19,635 KMs). So, while our vehicles are more fuel efficient we are using them more – this is resulting in our increased levels of CO2.

 EU Emissions Target

The EU emissions target for a new car sold in Europe is 130g CO2/km. In Ireland, this averages off well below the target at 113g CO2km for a new car sold in 2016. However, the value for cars imported in 2016 was 118 g CO2/km, eventually increasing to 120 g CO2/km for cars imported in 2017.

To the frustration of the Government, although we easily surpassed the EU emissions target for new vehicle sales in 2016, we still face significant penalties in 2020, due to our overall production of CO2 – largely attributable to economic growth.  

John Byrne, Legal and Public Relations Manager, says:

“While our vehicles are 31 per cent more fuel efficient than they were in January 2008 we are using them more. This has obviously led to an increase in our carbon footprint and Ireland is facing heavy fines – partly due to the transport sector. Vehicles imported into Ireland are also producing more CO2 than vehicles purchased new in Ireland. Overall the Government will be disappointed: we easily surpassed the EU emissions target in 2016 but still face heavy penalties.”