Diesel cars are the least environmentally friendly
The ecoscore is an indicator for the environmental performance of vehicles based on their noise nuisance and impact on climate change, ecosystems and health. The score takes into account not only the direct emissions that are released while driving but also the indirect emissions during the production and distribution of the fuel. The calculation method was recently modified using more realistic NOx emission values. As a result, the ecoscore of the more recent and more fuel-efficient diesel vehicles in particular is lower than before.
The environmental performance of new cars is continually improving. EU regulations require car manufacturers to produce cars with increasingly lower CO2 emissions. In addition, particulate matter and hydrocarbon emissions from diesel vehicles and nitrogen oxide emissions from petrol cars decreased following the introduction of the tighter Euro 5 standard in 2009. In 2011, the average ecoscore of the new Flemish car fleet was 61.6, i.e. an increase of five units with respect to 2008. The average ecoscore of the complete Flemish car fleet was 53.4 in 2011. It remains to be seen whether the target of the MINA plan 4 (2011-2015), a score of 61 determined on the basis of the previous method, is feasible by 2015.
Of the various vehicle technologies, the battery-electric vehicle has the highest ecoscore. Harmful pollutants are emitted only during the production of the fuel, not during the actual driving. Plug-in hybrid vehicles, which partly run on electricity, score well too. These two types of electric vehicles are followed by natural gas vehicles. None of these three types of vehicles is yet being purchased in significant numbers in Flanders, so their impact on the overall Flemish ecoscore is still limited in 2011. LPG vehicles score only slightly better than petrol cars. Diesel cars are the least environmentally friendly. This is mainly due to their higher NOx emissions. They do, however, show the most marked improvement since 2008. On the one hand, this is due to the higher proportion of new diesel cars with a built-in particle filter. This filter reduces the emission of particulate matter. On the other hand, the average CO2 emissions from new diesel cars decreased slightly more than those from new petrol cars. New private cars were, on average, more environmentally friendly than new company cars in 2011. Company cars more often run on diesel and are on average heavier and more powerful.