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Carmakers failing citizens on filters

The health of millions of European citizens is being put at risk by carmakers’ failure to put cheap particle filters on new direct-injection petrol engines. The new engines are more fuel-efficient and emit much less carbon dioxide than traditional petrol engines, but T&E-commissioned testing shows they typically emit around 1,000 times more harmful particles, which cause cancer and pose other threats to human health.

New petrol engines cause more air pollution than dirty diesels

New Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) petrol engines for cars emit more cancer-causing particles than modern diesel engines, a new study by independent vehicle researchers TÜV Nord revealed today. While GDI engines make petrol cars more fuel-efficient and emit less CO2, the findings show that these new petrol engines typically release around 1,000 times more harmful particles than traditional petrol engines and 10 times more than new diesels.

Particle emissions from petrol cars

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Vehicle tests show that without the use of gasoline particulate filters (GPF) the number of particles emitted from gasoline direct injection (GDI) engines is likely to exceed future European emissions limits, known as Euro 6 standards. Nowadays, particle emissions from these new petrol engines are higher than equivalent diesel vehicles. The cost of a filter to eliminate particle emissions is low (around €40), with no fuel economy penalty. Despite this, carmakers are delaying fitting filters on GDI cars and instead rely on manipulating tests. Their reluctance is worsening urban air pollution and reducing the health benefits of the new limits.

Tackling emissions from diesel machines

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European air pollution rules for diesel machines such as bulldozers, excavators and barges are much more lax than those for cars and lorries. As well as this, some engine types and older machines are excluded from air pollution law. This is a problem because, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), diesel exhaust is carcinogenic. Ambitious, comprehensive and consistent rules are needed to limit air pollution emissions from non-road mobile machinery (NRMM - diesel machines). These are required to address the growing urban air pollution that Europe faces. T&E believes that future EU legislation on diesel machines must be in line with emissions limits for equivalent road vehicles.

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