If you’re thinking of buying a car in Spain, you need to read this

Starting on September 1, 2018 new EU regulations on emissions mean higher prices for cars bought in Spain.

If you're thinking of buying a car in Spain, you need to read this
Photos: AFP

On Saturday the EU will introduce its new rules on vehicle pollution, dubbed the Worldwide Light Test Procedure (WLTP). 

These new measuring standards for carbon emissions are meant to offer more accurate data than under the obsolete NEDC format introduced in the 1980s, which was largely discredited since in 2015 it emerged that Volkswagen found a way to cheat in emissions tests.

In a nutshell, anyone buying a car in Spain will pay on average €1,500 more if it’s deemed to be too polluting.

According to industry experts 10 to 20 percent of vehicles that previously weren’t required to pay this pollution registration tax will now have to.

The move is meant to continue discouraging Europeans from buying contaminating vehicles as the bloc aims to reduce average car emissions to 66.5 grammes of CO2 per km by 2030.

The price hike is also attributed to manufacturers having to carry out more rigorous, expensive tests on their cars under the new regulations. 

The higher registration tax fee on new cars will be from around €700 on some models to €2,000 on others. It largely depends on the car model, where it’s registered, its age and its combined CO2 emissions.

Vehicles with CO2 emissions that are less than or equal to 120 grammes per kilometer are exempt from paying the tax.

But new cars that let out between 120 g/km and 160 g/km will have to pay 4.75 percent of the vehicle’s value before taxes. 

If it is between 160 and 200 grammes of carbon dioxide per kilometer, the charge will be 9.75 percent. 

The new owners of most polluting cars of all, those with emissions greater than or equal to 200 g/km of CO2 will have to cough up 14.7 percent.

Some vehicle owners who already paid the tax on their vehicles will be subject to an add-on fee in some cases but most current car owners are exempt. 

As the emissions threshold has been dropped, Spanish vehicle associations believe the number of new cars in Spain subject to this new carbon tax will go from 25 percent under NEDC to 35-45 percent under WLTP.

The new regulations do not affect cars that have already been bought. 




Air pollution in Spain blamed for 30,000 deaths each year

Air pollution caused an estimated 29,980 premature deaths in Spain in 2013 according to a report published by the European Environment Agency (EEA) on Wednesday.

Air pollution in Spain blamed for 30,000 deaths each year
Pollution over Madrid in November 2015. Photo: AFP.

Spain, at least, shows a marked improvement on the year before when 33,200 deaths were attributed to air pollution.

Almost nine out of 10 European city dwellers breathe air that is harmful to their health, though the continent's air quality is slowly improving, according to the Air quality in Europe – 2016 report.

Air pollution remains the single largest environmental cause of premature death in urban Europe, and was linked to around 467,000 early deaths in 41 European countries in 2013, according to an analysis of data from more than 400 cities.

“Emission reductions have led to improvements in air quality in Europe, but not enough to avoid unacceptable damage to human health and the environment,” EEA executive director Hans Bruyninckx said in a statement in connection with the agency's annual report.

Within the EU, the number of premature deaths was estimated at over 430,000.

Data from monitoring stations across Europe showed that in 2014 around 85 percent of the urban population was exposed to fine particulate matter (PM) — microscopic specks of dust and soot caused mainly by burning fossil fuels — at levels deemed harmful to health by the World Health Organization (WHO).

PM10, particulate matter measuring less than 10 microns, or 10 millionths of a metre, can lodge in the airways, causing respiratory problems. More perilous still are smaller PM2.5 particles which can enter the lungs and even the bloodstream.

The report said that in 2014, 16 percent of city dwellers in the EU were exposed to PM10 levels above the EU target, while eight percent were exposed to PM2.5 levels exceeding the threshold.

“Emissions of the main air pollutants in Europe have declined in recent decades, resulting in generally improved air quality across the region,” the report said.

But some sectors had fallen short of the reductions needed to meet air quality standards or had even increased emissions of some pollutants.

Emissions of nitrogen oxides — linked to respiratory and cardiovascular diseases — from road transport had not fallen “sufficiently,” the EEA said.

Similarly, emissions of PM2.5 and a particular hydrocarbon from coal and biomass combustion were “sustained”, it noted.

“If a lot of air quality blackspots are in towns and cities then it is clear that local and regional governments play a central role in finding solutions,” EU Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella said in a statement.

On a positive note, the report found that average PM10 levels fell in 75 percent of the locations monitored between 2000 and 2014, while average PM2.5 levels decreased for all station types between 2006 and 2014.

Parked is banned in the center of Madrid when pollution levels reach too high.  Photo: Jessica Jones 

It was the first time Madrid, which is recognized as the most polluted city in Spain, has introduced a raft of measures aimed at improving air quality including lowering the speed limit when pollution levels get too high and imposing a ban on non-residents driving into the city.