BRUSSELS – European automakers may be making significant progress in reducing emissions from light-commercial vehicles, but robust LCV demand in Germany and the U.K. means pollution remains comparatively high in those key markets.

European Environment Agency figures show automakers slashed emissions from vans of up to 8,900 lbs. (2 t) last year, with the average vehicle sold approximately 2.4% more fuel-efficient than those sold in 2013, but U.K. and German manufacturers are trailing.

According to the data, which the EEA says is preliminary pending verification by automakers, with final figures due in the fall, fuel efficiency has continued to improve. New LCVs sold across the European Union now emit almost 6 g/km of carbon dioxide below the 2017 target of 175 g/km, which manufacturers achieved four years early in 2013.

About 1.4 million new LCVs were registered in the EU in 2014, up 18% from the previous year, with average emissions of 169.2 g/km down from 173.2 g/km in 2013 and significantly below the 2017 target.

However, LCVs sold in Germany and the U.K. last year had higher emissions at an average 190.4 g/km and 181 g/km, respectively. While the worst emissions came from Slovakian models at 193.3 g/km, followed by those from the Czech Republic at 191.1 g/km, only 5,423 LCVs were sold in Slovakia and 11,825 in the Czech Republic in 2014. Those figures are dwarfed by the 212,582 deliveries in Germany and 307,426 in the U.K.

Germany was the third-worst performer on emissions and the U.K. sixth, while Slovenia, whose 5,930 LCVs emitted an average 186.3 g/km, ranked fourth and Austria, where 29,834 vans averaging 183.7 g/km were sold, was fifth.

“We have not done an in-depth analysis of the vans’ data linked to the market in each country,” an EEA spokesman tells WardsAuto. “But as a general the rule, fuel efficiency of a van, (or) the average (CO2 emissions), depends on factors such as mass of the vehicle, engine power and engine capacity.”

Indeed, the EEA data shows larger vehicles were sold in the highest-emitting countries in 2014. The average mass of vehicles sold in lowest-ranked Slovakia was 4,460 lbs. (2,028 kg), with German LCVs averaging 4,160 lbs. (1,889 kg) and U.K. ones 4,150 lbs. (1,884 kg).