UAE sets tough new goals for fuel efficiency of cars

The UAE has set its sights on increasing the average fuel efficiency of cars on its roads to 20.8 kilometres per litre by 2028 to meet its pledge to cut carbon emissions.
While oil rich, the UAE is taking steps to prepare motorists and other consumers for big changes. Ali Haider / EPA
While oil rich, the UAE is taking steps to prepare motorists and other consumers for big changes. Ali Haider / EPA

ABU DHABI // The UAE has set its sights on increasing the average fuel efficiency of cars on its roads to 20.8 kilometres per litre by 2028 to meet its pledge to cut carbon emissions.

The most recent statistics – from 2013 – showed average fuel economy in the UAE was 12.1km/l.

The regulations are part of a package of measures that the Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology is hoping to implement to meet the Paris Agreement, which the UAE ratified last week in an attempt to lower its emissions to curb global warming by 2°C.

The detail of the regulations are still under discussed, but when they come into effect next year, car manufacturers could be penalised for selling vehicles that are above the average fuel economy standard.

The efficiency figure is based on US corporate average fuel economy standards introduced to manage the increase in oil prices resulting from the Arab oil embargo of 1972.

Tanzeed Alam, climate and energy director at the Emirates Wildlife Society-WWF – which is involved in the project – said there would also be an effort to get more hybrid cars on the roads.

Mr Alam believed that the Government could promote the sale of hybrid vehicles through measures such as waiving vehicle registration fees or by having banks provide “green loans” with lower interest rates for people financing a hybrid vehicle.

While the ESMA has calculated that although hybrid vehicles cost an average of Dh2,000 more than their conventional counterparts, Mr Alam said this be reimbursed by savings on fuel.

“We are trying to find out what this will mean for the country. What does it mean in terms of fuel saving, outside manufacturing and what it means for the economics? But we know it will be a very positive outcome,” he said.

The UAE’s summers have held back the use of hybrid electric vehicles because batteries can be damaged by exposures to high temperatures.

Mr Alam hoped the new regulations would lead to manufacturers inventing more hybrid or fuel-efficient technologies that would cope with heat in the Gulf.

Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, said the fuel efficiency regulations would be “a firm indication of the UAE’s commitment to stronger action on climate change”.

Earlier this week, the UAE committed to obtaining 27 per cent of its energy from nuclear and renewable sources, a rise from a commitment of 24 per cent made earlier in the year.

nalwasmi@thenational.ae

Published: September 29, 2016 04:00 AM

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