Intelligent Energy

Porsche Cayennes are green? Outrageous!

Posting in Environment

As Germany's parliament prepares to vote on bill that would label Porsche, Audi, Land Rover and other SUVs as fuel efficient, a Brussels environmental group cries foul.

Environmental groups are livid over a proposed German green labelling scheme that would put gas-guzzlers such as the Porsche Cayenne sport utility vehicle on a par with some of Europe’s most fuel-efficient models.

Germany’s upper house of parliament, the Bundesrat, will tomorrow vote on a law that bases green labels on the ratio of a vehicle’s weight to its CO2 emissions.

Belgian environmental group Transport & Environment notes that the scheme would grant the same “green” status to a Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid, which emits 196 grams of CO2 per kilometre (313 grams per mile) as it would to a Citroen C3 Hdi, which emits 114 grams of CO2/kilometre (182 grams per mile). The Porsche weighs 2315 kilograms (5104 pounds), about twice as much as the Citroen’s 1190 kilograms (2624 pounds).

Likewise, a 2650-kilogram Land Rover Discovery, at 244g CO2/km, would receive the same ranking as a 920-kilogram Toyota IQ, which emits 99g CO2/km. And an Audi Q7 SUV weighing 2710 kilograms and emitting 298g CO2/km would have the same green rating as a Fiat Panda and a Smart Mhd, which respectively weigh 915 kilograms and 750 kilograms and emit 119g CO2/km and 103g CO2/km.

“The German car industry has persuaded its government to produce a green label that would put the Panzer tank in the same fuel efficiency category as a Smart car,” said Arne Richters, Transport & Environment’s program manager for cars and CO2. “The industry are treating their customers with contempt by conning them into thinking their gas guzzling SUVs are green.

"The German government should go back to the drawing board and then come forward with a new law on labeling to give consumers a much clearer picture of how polluting a car is, and how much it will cost at the pump.”

Brussels-based Transport & Environment campaigns for environmental transport policy at the European Commission. In a press release, it noted that the proposed law “puts the German government on a collision course with the European Commission” over a 1999 EU law aimed at avoiding consumer confusion.

Photo: Porsche

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Mark Halper

Contributing Editor

Mark Halper has written for TIME, Fortune, Financial Times, the UK's Independent on Sunday, Forbes, New York Times, Wired, Variety and The Guardian. He is based in Bristol, U.K. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure