The race to electrify mobility took an important step forward with a series of announcements from German carmakers on new electric cars and trucks. This coincided with a strong signal from the European Commission, through its Low-Emission Mobility Strategy, that electric vehicles, and not diesel-powered ones, have the principal role in decarbonising transport.
By Jos Dings, T&E executive directorAmerica is no green saint. An American emits more than twice the carbon of a European. Per head Americans also use more than twice as much oil for transport as Europeans do – mostly because five Americans own as many vehicles as eight Europeans and many of their vehicles don’t even fit in European garages. They send more than three times as much household waste to landfills. And so on.
Three-quarters of a list of 30 diesel cars that are among the dirtiest in Europe were approved for sale in the EU by the carmakers’ ‘home’ authorities, a new analysis shows. The ‘Dirty 30’, compiled by T&E, showed highly suspicious emissions behaviour when tested by the UK, French and German governments. This raises serious questions for the national type approval authorities that refuse to take any action to bring the carmakers back in compliance and instead blame Brussels for ‘vague’ legal definitions.
The newly elected mayor of London has said improving the British capital’s air quality will be one of his top priorities. Sadiq Khan’s first policy announcement after winning the election in May was to increase the size of London’s clean air charging zone and impose an additional charge on the most polluting vehicles.
The EU’s policy of using biodiesel for transport is set to increase Europe’s overall transport emissions by almost 4% instead of cutting CO2 emissions, according to a new analysis of the European Commission’s latest study on biofuels. These extra emissions are equivalent to putting around 12 million additional cars on Europe’s roads in 2020, the analysis by T&E finds. These findings take into account the EU’s 7% cap on the contribution of biofuels produced from food crops.
The appalling scale of carmakers’ gaming and cheating of emissions tests became more apparent in April as their credibility collapsed like a house of cards. The steady drip-drip with which the public became increasingly aware of the magnitude and pervasiveness of carmakers’ wrongdoing started on 20 April when Mitsubishi’s top executives admitted it had cheated CO2 tests on 625,000 minicars in Japan. Mitsubishi’s president acknowledged the misconduct with a deep bow of apology and later admitted the carmaker had cheated fuel tests for 25 years.
Diesel trains and barges will not need to have exhaust treatment systems even though they are required for cars and trucks, EU governments and MEPs agreed last month. The new law means citizens living along rail-lines and close to rail stations must continue to breathe cancer-causing diesel fumes, T&E warned.
Trucks cost society €143 billion a year across the EU through damage to infrastructure and health as well as congestion, climate change and other effects. The impact of heavy-duty vehicles is assessed in a new independent study for T&E which also finds that only 30% of these costs are covered by fuel excise duties, vehicle taxes and infrastructure charges.