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VW Colluding With Shell To Block EU Fuel Efficiency Goals

With the European Union’s planned new fuel efficiency targets looking more and more likely to be implemented, VW and Shell have apparently partnered to fund a new study arguing against the measures, according to recent reports.

The new study argues that rather than imposing stronger fuel efficiency standards on the industry, that the European Union should instead rely on “greater use of biofuels, CO2 car labelling, and the EU’s emissions trading system.” I wonder what possible reasons VW could have for that preference?

Volkswagen logoAs it stands, the European Union is planning to implement two new fuel efficiency targets (for 2025 and 2030) in order to help meet some of the terms of the agreements made at the recent COP21 climate change talks in Paris.

The Guardian provides more:

In reality, such a package would involve the end of meaningful new regulatory action on car emissions for more than a decade, EU sources say. But Shell insisted it is not trying to block an EU push for electric cars.

Ulrich Eichhorn, VW’s new head of research and development, said that plug-in hybrids and more efficient vehicles were “building blocks” for the future, but that “higher shares” for biofuels would be needed in the meantime. He told a meeting in Brussels: “Modern diesel and natural gas engines will absolutely be required to deliver CO2 targets until 2020 and they will also contribute to further reductions going on from there.”

In meeting the Paris goals, “societal costs need to be minimized to keep our industrial strength and competitiveness,” he said.

The Auto Fuels Coalition study, written by Roland Berger, makes a series of highly pessimistic assumptions about the costs of fuel efficiency improvements, and equally optimistic ones about greenhouse gas emissions from biofuels. A recent EU study found the dirtiest biofuels three times more polluting than diesel.

As noted by an insider source (with the European Union) that spoke with the UK-based paper, clearly the German internal combustion engine (ICE) manufacturers has decided that allies in the oil industry are now becoming prudent: “These two industries have realized they have a shared interest. When you saw who was paying for the study, you knew what the answer would be.”

A Shell spokesperson commented as well: “Nothing in the report can be interpreted as seeking to block electric vehicles.”

What exactly is the purpose, if not to block electric vehicles?

(Hat tip to Rich)

Written By

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.


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