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Brussels — The European Parliament has approved EU emission performance standards for new cars and vans by 2030, intended to cut oil use in road transport and promote electric vehicles.

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The standards require new cars to emit 37.5% less CO2 on average and new vans 31% less CO2 on average compared with 2021, and reflect the EU's increasing efforts to cut both its oil imports and transport emissions.

The cuts are above the 30% the European Commission originally proposed November 2017 for both new cars and new vans.

The EC estimated a 30% cut would save the EU around 380 million mt of oil between 2020 and 2040.

The standards also require average CO2 emissions from new cars and vans to be each 15% lower by 2025, compared with 2021.

The cuts will be achieved by sharing the effort among manufacturers based on the average mass of their vehicle fleet.

Manufacturers that increase their sales of zero- and low-emissions vehicles, such as fully electric cars and plug-in hybrids, may qualify for less strict overall CO2 standards.

The EU has a binding target to cut its economy-wide emissions by at least 40% by 2030, and wants to be carbon-neutral by 2050.

It is also keen to reduce its oil import dependency. Crude oils accounted for 70% of total EU energy imports in the first half of 2018, according to the latest figures from EU statistical office Eurostat.

European primary oil demand was flat at 15 million b/d in 2018, according to an International Energy Agency report published Tuesday.

Europe is the world's the second largest oil market after the US, at 20 million b/d, and ahead of China, at 13 million b/d, the IEA figures showed.

The next step is for EU ministers acting in the EU Council to approve the new standards. This is a formality, as the council already agreed them informally with the parliament in December.

The EU regulation setting the CO2 standards becomes binding 20 days after being published in the EU's Official Journal, and applies directly in all EU countries from January 1, 2020.

-- Siobhan Hall,

-- Edited by Valarie Jackson,