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2012-05-11 08:38

FUTURE FUEL SOLUTIONS: Britain is one of the EU member states highlighted in the Greenpeace report that could benefit greatly from fuel savings over the next eight years.

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Ambitious laws to reduce European Union vehicle emissions are also hoping to cut fuel bills by about a fifth by 2020.

EU officials are considering whether to stick with a target to cut average emissions from new cars to 95g/km of CO2 by the end of the decade.

Some in the industry say it's realistic, others in a sector struggling with declining domestic sales and over-capacity say it would be extremely challenging and heap more pressure on tight profit margins.

A report commissioned by Greenpeace looked at potential cost-savings in 15 European states - among them Britain, France, Germany, Greece, Italy and Spain - which have seen fuel bills hit record levels. The average European driver paid 1.69 euros (R17.56) per litre of petrol in April, 2012, when international crude oil prices traded at well above $115 (R924.60) a barrel.
Crude prices have since eased to about R900, although over the longer term, the International Energy Agency anticipates oil will become increasingly costly as demand rises and conventional supplies come under strain.

Drivers in Europe are estimated to pay on average 1235 to 2143 euros (R12 830 - R22 260) on fuel each year according to 2010 figures.

The range represents the difference between the lowest bills in Luxembourg, where fuel taxes are very low, and the highest in Sweden, where drivers in large cars travel long distances.


If the EU makes the targeted 95g/km goal by 2020 legally binding, the research found the increased vehicle efficiency would bring down annual costs by just over 20%. That would result in a range between 962 euros (R10 000) a year in Luxembourg and 1665 (R17 300) in Italy, which would then have the highest transport fuel bills.

The Greenpeace report assumes the Swedes will reduce their emissions further and more quickly.

How much do you spend on automotive fuel each year. Tell us how much, and why, in the comments section below. 

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