Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, a man who spent his life working for oil giant Shell, has called for an EU-enforced ban on all new cars that return less than 35 miles-per-gallon.His unlikely-seeming opinion hit the headlines yesterday, appearing in a BBC News online column in which Moody-Stuart also urged the European establishment to crack down harder on the biggest carbon-emitters in industry, and to enforce tougher efficiency standards on the building and construction industry.Moody-Stuart, now chairman of the Anglo American mining outfit, said we must “ban gas-guzzlers and steadily increase the total efficiency of any vehicle sold.” Consumers should still be allowed to “buy the roomiest, vroomiest car,” he wrote, “as long as it meets the efficiency standard.”Expanding on his blog, Moody-Stuart said “we need very tough regulation saying that you can’t drive or build something less than a certain standard. You would be allowed to drive as Aston Martin – but only if it did 50-60mpg.”“Nobody needs a car that does 10-15mpg,” he went on.
Moody-Stuart’s comments have been met with anger from various quarters of the motor industry and from motoring bodies who suggest they would limit freedom of choice for car-buyers. It's even been suggested that Moody-Stuart is declaring an opinion he would never dreamed of expressing while at the helm of the Shell Group, and betraying the drivers of sports cars and luxury cars that, as one angry motorist put it, "have been paying his wages for most of his working life."Spokesman for the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders Nigel Wonnacott said that drivers of bigger polluting cars already pay enough through carbon-based VED road tax and petrol duty. In response, Moody-Stuart pointed out that the rich shouldn’t be allowed to escape their responsibility to tackle climate change.Moody-Stuart’s call comes as the European Commission in Brussels continues to draft and debate regulations to limit average carbon emissions from new cars to 130g/km by 2012. The draft laws have been tempered since their official proposal last year; an allowance for vehicle weight has been added, which allows heavier cars to emit more CO2 than lighter ones. The finished laws are unlikely to be based on fuel economy, or to be as simplistic as Moody-Stuart suggests. According to Brussels regulators, they will not penalise individual car-makers but rather the car industry as a whole. Even so, they remain a source of much consternation within the European car-making community.The proposals are expected to become EU law, provided they pass a commission vote, later this year.