Last year was the one in which it became plain for everyone to see that transport had turned from being the grey sheep to the black sheep in Europe and the world’s efforts to improve the environment.
In a year when the auto-industry was rocked by the #dieselgate scandal we also learned Volkswagen distorted tests for fuel economy and CO2 emissions as well. It was not surprising; contrary to industry claims of progress on efficiency there had been no real-world progress for a third successive year.
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.
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.
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.
The new city government in Oslo has said it will eliminate private cars from the city centre by 2019 as part of plans to make the Norwegian capital reduce its greenhouse gases by 50%.
MEPs have voted for mandatory fuel consumption meters on all new cars from 2019 – tightening the Commission’s original proposal on eliminating the discrepancy between emissions in test conditions and those in real-world driving, which omitted fuel consumption meters. The European Parliament’s environment committee said the proposal didn’t do enough to reduce fuel use, and last month it voted for indicators to be obligatory on all new models from 2018 and on all new cars from 1 January 2019.
This is my modest attempt to add something to the almighty #autogate scandal that detonated like a bomb on 18 September, four intense weeks ago. Here we go. First, about the industry. All the evidence we have assembled has led us to say this affair is the tip of the iceberg. Predictably the industry is trying to paint it as the opposite - an isolated incident for which a few low-level rogue engineers were responsible.
Europe’s response to the failure of EU vehicle emissions testing exposed by Volkswagen’s admission of cheating must be a complete overhaul of how cars are approved for sale. That was the response of T&E as further evidence emerged of the growing gap between official test results and cars’ actual carbon emissions on the road.