The average van sold in the European Union in 2014 was around 2.4 percent more fuel-efficient than those sold in 2013, according to data from the European Environment Agency, EEA.
Fuel efficiency has continued to improve and new vans now emit almost 6 grams of CO2/km below the European Union's 2017 target.
Emissions levels were lowest among new vans sold in Portugal (145.1 g CO2/km), Malta (145.7 g CO2/km) and Bulgaria (148.6 g CO2/km). At the other end of the scale, emissions were approximately 30 percent higher for the average vans sold in Slovakia (193.3 gCO2/km), the Czech Republic (191.1 g CO2/km) and Germany (190.4 g CO2/km).
In 2014, vans had average emissions of 169.2 grams of carbon dioxide, CO2, per kilometer - 4 g CO2/km less than those sold in 2013.
"This is significantly below the 2017 target of 175 g CO2/km, which was already reached in 2013, four years ahead of schedule," according to the announcement.
The data is published by the European Environment Agency which started monitoring the emissions of light commercial vehicles in 2012. The final data will be published in the autumn after van manufacturers verify this preliminary data.
The EU market for vans grew by 18 percent in 2014 and in comparison to 2013 and registrations increased in all EU member states except for Malta and the Netherlands.
More than 60 percent of the vehicles were registered mainly in three countries, France at 24 percent, the United Kingdom with 21 percent and Germany with 15 percent, according to the statement.
Diesel vehicles make up the vast majority of van sales with 97 percent. Alternative fuel vehicles using liquid petroleum gas, LPG, or natural gas, represent less than 2 percent of the fleet, with electric vehicle sales comprising less than 0.5 percent.
The average emission levels vary across Europe, according to the data.
The increasing fuel efficiency of vans observed in 2014 is similar to that recently reported by the EEA for new passenger cars sold, which improved by 2.6 percent between 2013 and 2014.
According to the EEA's official website, European member states report CO2 emission levels based upon a certification test procedure. These levels are measured under laboratory conditions using the New European Driving Cycle, NEDC, as specified in EU legislation. The certification procedure is designed to make the measurements for all vehicles comparable, but it does not necessarily represent real-world conditions.
Carbon dioxide is the primary reason for global warming as a buildup of CO2 acts like a planetary duvet and traps heat in the atmosphere. Climate change refers to the increase in the average temperature of the Earth's near-surface air and oceans since the mid-twentieth century and its projected continuation.
Preventing dangerous climate change is a key priority for the European Union and the EU has set targets to reduce emissions by 20 percent by 2020 and by 40 percent by 2030.
By Gulsen Cagatay