New cars sold in the European Union last year were bigger, faster and emitted some four per cent less carbon dioxide than in the year 2009, the European Union-affiliated Environmental Agency reports.
Average CO2 emissions of new cars were pegged at 140 grammes per kilometre. With the EU aiming to bring the average CO2 emission level down to 130 grammes per kilometre by 2015, the target could well be reached before this date, according to EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard, DPA reported.
"Setting firm targets encourages the car industry to bring more economical cars onto the road," the commissioner said. At the same time the agency pointed out that new cars were getting heavier - on an average by 28 kilogrammes - because more people were buying Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) and Crossover vehicles.
The number of SUVs in the European Union has risen from seven per cent in the year 2006 to 11.5 per cent last year, according to the figures. The agency estimates that about one fifth of all CO2 emissions in the EU are caused by road traffic, rising by 29 per cent between 1990 and 2007 but showing a decline since 2008.