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Natural gas not a ‘bridge fuel’ to cleaner trucks and cars – study

Natural gas is not a ‘bridge fuel’ to a cleaner future for cars and trucks – as the fossil fuel industry claims – because it would be largely ineffective in cutting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and air pollution, an independent study has found. Instead petrol-hybrid, electric and hydrogen cars deliver much greater climate benefits.

Setback for Alps as Swiss tunnel referendum passed

Switzerland has voted in favour of building a second road tunnel through the Gotthard alpine mountain. In a referendum in late February, the Swiss electorate voted by 57% to 43% to approve a second road tunnel, despite it appearing to contradict the Swiss constitution that commits the country to shifting goods transport from road to rail. The vote has been widely seen as part of a political swing to the right, which has been accompanied by a weakening of public willingness to support environmental measures.

Fiat to modify engines after tests show ‘extreme’ NOx levels

Fiat’s 500X diesel car is the latest to come under suspicion for emitting levels of pollutants that are well over the amounts recorded in official testing. T&E’s German member DUH has published the results of an analysis on the compact SUV, saying the officially recorded emissions levels are ‘technically not plausible’. Fiat denies the car breaches Euro 6 rules, but has agreed to a modification of its engines.

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.

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