Carbon dioxide emissions from new cars on European roads fell by 4 percent compared with 2009 levels, the largest drop ever, an environment agency said.
The European Environment Agency in a report found new passenger cars sold in the European Union in 2010 were accountable for a 3.7-percent reduction in CO2 emissions than the previous year. The agency said this was the largest decline recorded since monitoring began in 2000.
The agency said engine capacity in the cars sold in 2010 was bigger than in 2009, and those cars were much heavier than previous models. Emissions, however, were lower per mile traveled because of improved vehicle technology and fuel efficiency, the agency reported.
"These data show again that setting targets delivers results and stimulates the car industry to put greener cars on the market," Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said in a statement. "These innovations also ensure that Europe's car industry remains competitive in the changing global market."
Road transportation in the EU accounts for about 20 percent of all regional CO2 emissions. Passenger vehicles are responsible for half of that total.