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Car makers call for eco-training

Date: 12 October 2007   |   Author: Nick Gibbs

Christopher Macgowan, SMMT

The car industry is demanding that the Government provides cash for fleets to train a new generation of frugal drivers.

The call comes as the industry attempts to shift some of the burden to reduce CO2 onto the Government, accusing it of failing to acknowledge their successes in the face of mounting car-safety and emissions legislation.

"The Government needs to encourage us business drivers to drive in an eco friendly way," said Christopher Macgowan, boss of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. "[Fleet training] would be a very good use of public funds."

Green driver training would combine with new CO2-saving tech to achieve a greater results, claimed the SMMT.

As the EU prepares to decide on future CO2 limits, car makers lined up a Noah's Ark of cars past and present in London to show how CO2 outputs had declined, despite legislation governing new cars increasing by more than a third in the last 10 years.

"Cars have mostly got larger and heavier to cope with other legislative requirements, such as pedestrian safety, but despite that we've done a huge amount on CO2," said Macgowan.

For example the entry-engine Ford Fiesta weighs 300kg more than a 1976 car, but cuts the CO2 from 150g/km to 142. As well as the safety advances, the car's carbon monoxide emissions have been improved by a factor of 71.

CO2 is the last serious vehicle emission not to be regulated, but the European Commission has proposed a 130g/km average for all new cars sold by 2012. Car firms are pushing for an extra three years to meet the limit.