Mirror, mirror on the wall… what’s the cleanest car in Belgium of them all?

CO2, the ups and downs...

23% of all CO2 emissions are produced by transport, with 13% from car traffic. Other sources of CO2 emissions are electricity production, industry and the heating in buildings. Sea and air transport aren’t included in these Belgian figures; that’s because they're calculated internationally. And still, it’s likely that their share is just as big as that of cars, vans and lorries combined.

Diesel, petrol or electric?

  • Petrol cars consume more fuel and therefore emit more CO2.
  • Diesel cars are more efficient and emit less CO2, but they also produce more fine particulate matter.
  • Electric cars are clean when their electricity is green.

Petrol vs. diesel

Vehicles that run on fossil fuels rely on internal combustion engines. Internal combustion releases the greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide (CO2), as well as other harmful substances, such as particulate matter and nitrogen oxides (NOx).

Petrol cars use more fuel, which naturally releases more carbon dioxide. HGVs and trains usually run on diesel because the fuel efficiency of diesel engines increases based on the load, which is also why the automotive sector has put so much effort into diesel technology.


So, how about electric cars? Well, they don't emit carbon dioxide. But... your car is powered by electricity generated at a power station. On the flip side, if you opt for green electricity, you'll be driving all the way green. But it only makes sense that if that electricity comes from combusting coal or lignite, your car will suddenly be a whole lot less green.

Electric car batteries are also polluting. Fortunately, technology hasn’t remained stuck in that rut. Less raw materials are required for battery manufacture and they're being recycled or reused more often and more efficiently. So yes – in the end – an electric car really is a (more) sustainable choice.

Visit the Brussels Motor Show and find the car that meets your needs!

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So, now what?

By 2020, new cars aren’t allowed to emit more on average than 95 g of CO2 per kilometre. According to the EU, that amount needs to drop another 37.5% by 2030. There’s no debate – car manufacturers have a huge challenge ahead of them.

The automotive sector is doing everything it can to reduce CO2 emissions and particulate matter. An excellent example of these efforts is the particulate filter, which extracts, and traps particulate matter produced by diesel motors. New vehicle CO2 emissions have also evolved considerably in recent years. In just 10 years’ time, they've gone from 148 to 119 g/km, or -19.6%. That means that cars have become significantly more efficient and emit less fine particulate matter However, given that there are so many more cars and we all drive more, traffic-related CO2 emissions have continued to rise.

Another explanation for this is the increasing popularity of petrol cars to the detriment of diesel cars. And, like you read above, petrol cars emit more CO2 because they consume more. Fortunately, electric and natural gas cars are having a clear impact on keeping those figures down.

So, what's the right car for you? Well, that doesn’t just depend on emissions, but on a whole host of other factors as well. We'd be happy to tell you more and give you a few tips at the 2020 Brussels Motor Show!

Buy your tickets here!

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