Not many of those who own and/or drive a car are daily concerned with the CO2 they are releasing in the air when going to work, to the IKEA or on a weekend trip. Many more, on the other hand, are deeply affected by the fuel consumption that these activities are going to entail.
A recent position paper issued by BEUC tries to link this two aspects in light of the EU plans to lower the emission targets for passenger vehicles in the coming years (the final deadline would be 2020). In short, the paper calculates that if producers are "forced" to comply to the new standards by means of technical improvements alone consumers are going to be better off in the short-middle run. How? BEUC researchers expect that the implementation of technical improvements may cause a raise in the vehicles' price of around 1000 euros; on the other hand, with the price for fuel likely increasing over the coming years, consumers will be able to recover the initial costs through reduced consumption in fairly short times- maximum three years according to BEUC, and less if the second-hand market is considered as a way to "split" the cost among subsequent owners.
Much emphasis is put on the fact that, as anticipated, the emission reduction should be only achieved through technical improvements: other implementation devices, such as efforts to teach drivers eco-driving would shift the burden on consumers and jeopardize the measure's effectiveness.
For more in-depth information, a longer version of the paper is also available (guest access available by simple click).