UAE Vehicle Fuel Economy Standard | WWF

UAE Vehicle Fuel Economy Standard

Why vehicle fuel economy matters 

  • The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is one of the fastest growing vehicle markets in the world. In 2010, the sales of light-duty vehicles (passenger cars, SUVs and light-trucks) stood at 212,300. By 2014, the sales had more than doubled to 478,872 (Marklines vehicle database:
  • The transport sector contributed 22 per cent of the country's total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2013, making it the second largest contributor behind electricity and water generation (UAE Ministry of Energy: UAE GHG Inventory 2013 Report).

What has been achieved so far?

In early 2016, following a year of research and multi-stakeholder engagement spearheaded by the Ecological Footprint Initiative (EFI), the Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology (ESMA) began developing a new regulation to ensure UAE consumers benefit from having the best and most energy-efficient cars.

In order to arrive at a science-based, locally relevant regulatory proposal, EWS-WWF commissioned a comprehensive technical study from the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT). Among other elements, the study encompassed a detailed analysis of the potential implications of a UAE fuel economy standard, including:
  1. Technical implications such as fuel savings;
  2. Economic implications such as costs and benefits for consumers and the government, and payback time;
  3. Environmental implications such as reduced carbon emissions.
The new policy is being modelled on Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, which are the main tool governments use to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions from new light-duty vehicles. CAFE standards provide carmakers with annual targets linked to the average fuel economy of all vehicles sold in a given year. This means carmakers are flexible to supply the market with more efficient technologies by improving their sales mix, without limiting consumer choice. 

Understanding the economic and environmental potential of a UAE fuel economy standard

Adopting a CAFE standard would place the UAE among the global leaders in taking action on fuel consumption and CO2 emissions in the transport sector. It would also help the UAE achieve its climate pledge submitted as part of the Paris Agreement.

The new policy has the potential to:
  • Generate billions of dirhams worth of fuel savings for consumers, totalling up to AED 267 billion by 2050 (based on January 2016 fuel prices)
  • Substantially cut carbon dioxide emissions, reaching cumulative savings of 400 Million Tonnes by 2050
  • Provide car owners with AED 8,800 to AED 12,800 worth of fuel savings over a vehicle’s lifetime


What are the next steps?

EWS-WWF will continue to work closely with ESMA and other stakeholders on the development and adoption of the new regulation. To further promote science-based policy development, and to foster collaboration and open communication, EWS-WWF will share the research and analysis carried out as part of this project with the public in the near future.