Regulators in Europe, Japan and North America are beginning to clamp down on carbon emissions and auto manufacturers have found themselves in the firing line.
Armed with fuel economy legislation and biofuel mandates, the European and the U.S. are attempting to calm fears over climate change and energy security, according to data from Integer Research LTD. Their hand has recently been strengthened by speculation in the oil market pushing the price of crude oil to US $111 barrel.
The European Commission, initially hesitant to force limits on the auto industry, will now mandate a limit of 120g/km for passenger car manufacturers. In the United States, an impending increase in Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards will slowly steer the industry towards more efficient technologies.
This shift in U.S. policy – the first overhaul of CAFE for more than 20 years – will provide diesel the chance of a comeback and intensify the battle for market share with efficient but expensive Japanese hybrids. And affordable diesel hybrids continue to be the goal of many Oil Exporting Nations, Integer says.
The United States and the European regulations will not create not only challenges, but also opportunities. The environmental technology industry is robust and growing at a fast rate, with research, manufacturing and materials-science companies competing to take advantage of tightening global emissions standards and secure intellectual property.