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Reducing the environmental impacts of cars.

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Reducing the environmental

impacts of cars

  • The IMPRO-car project is one of the IPTS’ contribution to the Integrated Product Policy (IPP) framework. IPP aims at reducing the environmental impacts from products and services throughout their life cycle, harnessing, where possible, a market driven approach within which competitiveness concerns are integrated.
  • Objectives
  • The objectives of the IMPRO-car project were to:
  • estimate and compare the life cycle environmental impacts of the passenger cars;
  • identify the main environmental improvement options that are technically feasible and available on the car market within the two coming decades;
  • assess their costs.
  • Method
  • Two generic car models – one petrol car and one diesel car – were defined and subjected to a life cycle inventory of their different material and environmental flows.
  • The process chain approach was applied, to quantify the midpoint indicators for the different impact categories (climate change (GWP), acidification (AP), eutrophication (EP), ozone depletion (ODP), photochemical oxidation (POCP), consumption of primary energy resources (PE), abiotic depletion (excluding primary energy depletion) (AD), solid waste (BW), particulate matter (PM2.5).
  • External costs were also quantified.
  • Report
  • Results
  • Life cycle impacts
  • .
  • => Life cycle impacts of cars are dominated by the fuel cycle related impacts (WTW) and the car production
    • Improvement options: direct costs and avoided externalities per 100 km
    • Conclusions
  • Up to 20% (reduced externalities) improvement achievable.The biggest improvements relate to efficient engines, hybrid car, lighter cars (also more costly).
  • Behavioural changes may simultaneously reduce the environmental burden and life cycle costs.
  • The regulatory framework is addressing or expected to address the identified environmental hotspots. Key issue is the socio-economic barriers and long turn over of car fleet


Françoise Nemry, Guillaume Leduc, Ignazio Mongelli, Andreas Uihlein

European Commission • Joint Research Centre

Institute Name

Tel. +34 95 448 8268• Fax +34 95 448 8279