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The Motor Industry & the Environment

New Cars are More Environmentally Friendly

Since 1990 average CO2 emissions per car have declined from approximately 3.70 tonnes to 3.44 tonnes over this same period. This means that improvements in the fuel efficiency of a newer car fleet have offset the negative impact of the increased number of cars in use, the increased level of importation of used cars and any tendency for car users to increase their fuel consumption through the purchase of larger vehicles or higher levels of usage.

The improvements in fuel efficiency outlined above are set to continue under the commitments made by the motor industry to the EU. In 1995/6, the industry committed to reduce average emissions of new cars to 140g of CO2 per kilometre by 2008/9. The industry has also undertaken to consider the possibility of achieving a target of 120g of CO2 per kilometre by 2012.As the average CO2 per kilometre for Ireland in 1995 was 180g, these targets represent reductions in CO2 of 22 per cent and 33 per cent respectively. In 2004, the CO2 per kilometre for new passenger cars sold in Ireland was 167g per kilometre. Owing to efficiency improvements in the new passenger car fleet, these targets now represent further reductions of 16 and 28 per cent respectively.

July 2008 saw the introduction of the new VRT and road tax systems based on CO2 emissions of cars. This has had an immediate impact, with vehicles registered for the month of July 2008 having CO2 emissions some 21g/km lower than those vehicles registered in the same month of 2007.

Vehicle Labelling

As part of the Introduction of the new CO2 based VRT and road tax systems, the motor industry have in consultation with the Department of Environment, established a new colour coded labelling system for new passenger cars. These labels, which are displayed on or near any new car for sale, provide valuable information to assist consumers in making their environmental decision with details on the CO2/km for the car, the appropriate VRT and motor tax rates and fuel usage and consumption information.

EU End of Life Vehicle Directive

The EU Directive on the Disposal of End of Life Vehicles (ELVs) became operational in Ireland, effective from January 1st 2007. The Department introduced primary legislation in July 2003 to transpose the Directive into Irish law and in May 2006 issued the regulation for final implementation of the Directive in Ireland.

The End-of-Life Vehicle Regulations place responsibility on all importers of vehicles to play their part in the recycling and recovery of vehicles when they come to the end of their useful operational life. If you are an importer of used cars (M1) or used light commercials (N1), then you are required to be compliant with these ELV Regulations. Compliance means registering with either each of the 31 local authorities, or just once with ELV Environmental Services, known as ELVES. Find out more about ELVES

EU Batteries Directive

New Waste Battery Regulations were passed by the Department of the Environment in 2008, and includes automotive batteries.

Waste Tyre Regulations 

SIMI members who supply tyres as part of their business are legally required under Waste Management Regulations either to register with a waste tyre compliance scheme or self-comply. This includes car retailers who sell tyres. Last October, the Minister for Environment announced that a new scheme for waste tyres will funded by a statutory visible charge on tyres. It is expected that this scheme, which will be underpinned by new legislation, will become operational sometime during 2016 or early 2017.

The DECLG has licensed Repak ELT to operate the single compliance scheme for End of Life Tyres. In the interim in advance of the new regulations, Repak ELT will be operated in two phases. Phase one, which has been in operation since November 2015, has replaced the previous scheme TRACS on a like-for-like basis, and members who wish to exercise this option for dealing with waste tyres will find relevant details on, or

Alternatively members can self-comply under Article 4 of the Waste Management (Tyres and Waste Tyres) Regulations 2007.