16 Oct 2023

Contribution of internal combustion vehicles to the decarbonization of road transport in France

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Jean-Philippe Hermine
Managing Director
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Louis-Pierre Geffray
Head of Programs


The aim of this publication is to identify the potential gains that could be made in reducing greenhouse gas emissions over the next decade as a result of changes in the fleet of internal combustion vehicles on the road in France. The analysis is based on a reconstruction of the consumption history of new vehicles and then of the fleet between 2012 and 2022. The model is then used in a forward-looking manner, incorporating known technological developments to date and supported assumptions for the expected renewal of the fleet. The analysis provides a clearer picture of trends in average vehicle fuel consumption over 10 years and the corresponding emissions.


Key Messages


  • The average unit consumption of petrol vehicles in the French fleet fell by -1.07%/year between 2014 and 2021. Our simulations suggest a similar fall between 2021 and 2030 (including hybrid engines). These figures are based on the structural assumption that the environmental penalty is increased by 5g/year, as has been the case over the past 3 years. This trajectory (-11.5% between 2019 and 2030) should be considered in comparison with the target set by the SGPE (General Secretariat for Ecological Planing) of -34% in emissions for all French private vehicles over the same period.
  • A return to a trend of 19% of SUV sales (compared with more than 40% over the last 3 years) would make it possible to achieve better results than in the past (excluding sufficiency measures, such as lower motorway speeds). This scenario would result in a reduction of 3 MtCO2e by 2030 compared with 2019, in line with the target set by the SGPE.
  • In the case of heavy goods vehicles, major efficiency gains on new vehicles will make it possible to achieve a reduction that is well above historical levels, with an 11.9% reduction in the average consumption of the fleet between 2019 and 2030. However, this result falls short of the target set by the SGPE (17%).
  • The results highlight an asymmetry in the achievement of fleet emission reduction targets between light and heavy vehicles. In order to meet the target carbon budget for transport in 2030, it would be necessary to transfer part of the emissions reduction set aside for heavy goods vehicle fleets to light vehicles. The analysis shows that a greater contribution from light vehicles is possible and achievable. It would not require a continuation of past policies, but a strengthening of their ambition.


This publications is only available in French.