Emissions peaked in 2007 in both the U.S. and Europe before high fuel prices and then recession curbed and reversed emissions growth. This general pattern overshadowed the European automobile fleet’s more fuel efficient starting point, thanks in part to significantly higher fuel taxes in Europe than in the U.S.

regionEuropean Union

These graphs show the changes in emissions, emissions drivers, and policy in the Transportation sector in the EU


Emissions Transportation emissions and passenger miles and freight transport index

Passenger miles and freight transport rose rapidly before declining as a result of the recession. Emissions grew slowly but steadily until they peaked in the mid-2000s.


    Emissions Drivers Emissions intensity indices—EU27 + Norway, Switzerland, and Turkey

    Emissions intensity declined steadily. Passenger transport efficiency improved more than freight transport efficiency. However, within road transport, freight improved three times as much as passenger travel (18% versus 6%) between 1995 and 2010 (not shown).


      Policy Emissions intensity indices

      Starting from a comparatively high point, real fuel taxes were almost flat since the mid-1990s and steadily declined as a proportion of the final fuel price. Rising oil prices rather than government intervention therefore were the main increase to price signals for more efficient road transport. Shown for EU27, Norway, Switzerland, and Turkey.