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Swiss referendum will impact on north-south transit traffic

On 28 February, the Swiss go to the polls in a referendum that could have major implications for north-south goods transport in Europe. The vote itself is whether to build a second road tunnel through the Gotthard Alpine mountain between the towns of Göschenen and Airolo, but T&E’s two Swiss members are making the case that the issue is much bigger than that.

EU bids to bring carmakers into line after dieselgate

The EU is set to play a more active role in upholding emissions standards under new plans to overhaul the system whereby national authorities approve cars to be sold in all 28 member states. Testing services will operate independently and face penalties for misconduct, under the European Commission’s proposal. Currently, testing companies, appointed by national testing authorities, are paid directly by carmakers.

Renault recalls 15,000 vehicles while Opel Zafira emissions drop after software update

Renault is to recall more than 15,000 vehicles and modify up 700,000 more to make sure its engines are in line with emissions standards after raids by French investigators at its headquarters. Environment minister Ségolène Royal said the French firm and other carmakers had not been using defeat device software like Volkswagen but that some of its vehicles did have unacceptably high emissions on the road.

Emissions scandal showed that tests must shift out of lab and onto the road

T&E’s contribution to exposing the failed system of EU car testing has been one of its key campaigns in 2015. The discrepancy between lab tests for dangerous nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions and those produced on the road was shown to be on average a whopping 500% – and more for some models. But the year was memorable for the unravelling of the biggest emissions scandal in auto-industry history.

€27bn subsidy to diesel cars last year in lower fuel tax

Europe’s diesel cars received indirect subsidies totalling almost €27 billion last year through lower fuel taxes, a new study has found. Diesel fuel was taxed at, on average, 14 cent less per litre than petrol in 2014, according to Europe’s tax deals for diesel, which was published by T&E last month.

MEPs demand U-turn on weakening of emissions limits

The Socialists & Democrats group in the European Parliament has told environment ministers to ‘substantially modify’ a decision to weaken emissions limits for diesel cars when they meet on 16 December. The blunt demand adds to the opposition already expressed by the ALDE, GUE, Green and EFDD groups ahead of an environment committee vote next month on the controversial decision.

Peugeot Citroën and T&E to cooperate on real-world emissions testing

Carmaker PSA Peugeot Citroën and T&E have agreed to work together to measure the real-world CO2 emissions of the company’s fleet – the first time a car manufacturer has accepted real-world fuel economy tests are possible. The two will devise methodology for on-road testing of PSA’s main passenger vehicles on public roads in spring 2016 with the results then being published. Real-driving emissions tests for NOx are expected by spring 2017.

Will diesel retrofits clean up pollution paradox?

The recent support by MEPs for a proposal to encourage the retrofitting of a range of diesel engines with clean-up technology could help solve a paradox in which the EU is funding a rise in air pollution. T&E’s Hungarian member, the Clean Air Action Group, says EU efforts to support public transport in Budapest have ended up bringing back diesel fumes that the residents thought belonged in the past.

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