EUR-Lex Access to European Union law

Back to EUR-Lex homepage

This document is an excerpt from the EUR-Lex website

Document 92003E002826

WRITTEN QUESTION E-2826/03 by Kathleen Van Brempt (PSE) to the Commission. Eco-driving.

OJ C 78E , 27.3.2004, p. 434–435 (ES, DA, DE, EL, EN, FR, IT, NL, PT, FI, SV)

European Parliament's website



Official Journal of the European Union

CE 78/434

(2004/C 78 E/0456)


by Kathleen Van Brempt (PSE) to the Commission

(23 September 2003)

Subject:   Eco-driving

Introducing a new, more environmentally friendly driving style using electronic equipment in cars, known as ‘eco-driving’, has been a topic of discussion in Europe for some time now. I would like further information from the Commission regarding the practicalities of eco-driving.

Can the Commission state what measures it intends to take to introduce a more environmentally friendly driving style?

What is the Commission's opinion of the proposal by the Netherlands Government that all new cars in Europe be equipped with cruise control and an on-board computer? According to the Netherlands, this could reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by around 10 %. Is this proposal feasible?

Belgium has seen many accidents involving lorries caused by the use of cruise control. Can the Commission provide clarification of the safety guarantees that accompany the installation of electronic equipment, and cruise control in particular, in cars?

Answer given by Mrs de Palacio on behalf of the Commission

(13 November 2003)

There is a wide range of conceivable measures to reduce the environmental impact of road vehicles. In this connection, voluntary agreements on CO2 emissions and technical improvements to vehicles will have an important role to play.

Driving style is an equally important factor. Results show that ecodriving makes it possible to cut fuel consumption by around 10 % and at the same time to reduce accidents and pollution. The Commission has provided its support to a number of projects in this area (see The STEER programme, which is an element of the Intelligent Energy Europe programme, will offer the possibility of supporting other projects.

In the technological field, a significant number of research projects in progress under the 5th Framework Programme for RTD aim to make vehicles more environmentally friendly. Generally speaking, their main objective is to develop new engine technologies which are both more fuel efficient (CO2) and cleaner. For example, a great deal of work has been carried out in the DEXA (Diesel Engine Exhaust particles After treatment) projects, in order to eliminate particle emissions from diesel engines and in the VCR (Variable compression ratio for CO2 reduction for gasoline engines) project which allows a significant reduction in consumption and hence CO2. This work is continuing in the 6th Framework Programme where new projects should allow further advances, whether for conventional engines or fuel cells in the longer term.

The Commission is planning to propose a Directive on energy services in the months to come. This proposal could require energy suppliers to help their customers to use energy products more efficiently. In the field of transport, customers would be advised on how to manage their energy costs more effectively, check tyre pressures and undergo ecodriving training.

As regards the announcement by the Netherlands of a proposal making it compulsory to fit cruise-control devices, given that the type approval of vehicles is an area where the Community has competence, the Commission would have to receive a specific draft in order to assess its actual impact and the suitability of a proposal with two co-legislators. In any event, this is one of a number of innovative technologies which could improve environmental protection and safety. The effects of the various options will have to be carefully weighed to ensure that the most effective solution is chosen.

Finally, as regards accidents involving heavy goods vehicles equipped with cruise control in Belgium, the Honourable Member is requested to refer to the answer to written question E-l 501/03 (1).

(1)  OJ C 70 E, 20.3.2004, p. 48.