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Realistic real-world driving emissions tests: a last chance for diesel cars?

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Air pollution emissions limits for cars, vans and trucks (Euro Standards) have been progressively tightened, on paper, over 25 years but have failed to deliver real-world improvements for several key pollutants, notably nitrogen dioxide. This is because obsolete tests and “cycle beating” techniques have been used by carmakers leading to levels of emissions from some cars many times higher on the road than in laboratory tests. In October 2014, the Commission will be discussing progress and next steps with EU member states. This paper outlines key issues for member states to ensure that the new real-world (PEMS) tests are robust and representative of real-world driving in order for emissions to decline on the road. 

Brussels and Gothenburg highlight difficulties of tackling congestion

The unofficial capital of Europe is the most congested city in Europe, according to the latest ranking of congested cities, but opinion sampling and a vote in Gothenburg suggest public willingness for tackling congestion is not great.

Three reasons why road transport in the ETS is a bad idea

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The EU is currently discussing its climate and energy policy for 2030. As part of these discussions German carmakers have been advocating the inclusion of road transport emissions in the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS). Some countries like Denmark also support the idea, although for different reasons. This briefing explains why transport’s inclusion in the ETS would delay emissions reductions in transport, undermine more effective climate policies for transport, and weaken the ETS and increase costs.

Car CO2 emissions drop 4%, but test manipulation at play

Carbon dioxide missions from new cars sold in the EU decreased almost 4% in 2013 compared to the previous year, according to provisional data from the European Environment Agency (EEA). But T&E has warned that the official figures do not match up on the road. While progress has been made by carmakers, flaws in the emissions test exaggerate the improvements, it is claimed.

Tackling real world emissions from cars

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Light duty vehicles (LDVs) emit more pollutants on the road than in laboratory conditions. In order to solve this problem the Commission decided to introduce complementary type-approval procedures to measure gaseous and particulate emissions during real driving to make sure that they are similar to legal emission limits. To achieve this, the Real-Driving Emissions-Light Duty Vehicles (RDE-LDV) working group was created in 2011. Work in this group is currently focused on RDE tests during initial type approval.

This paper has been prepared by T&E to aid the work of this group. The paper considers the main topics of discussion: data analysis methods, boundary conditions, conformity factor, equipment (portable emissions measurement system – PEMS) and scope.

The 'car chancellor’ should consider drivers and the environment too

This Comment by Greg Archer was first published by EurActiv. The scandal of Germany’s heavy-handed attempts to block an agreed deal on CO2 standards for cars has sunk to new levels with news that BMW’s main shareholding family gifted €690,000 to Chancellor Merkel’s party. The badly timed donation came just a few days before she finally succeeded in pressuring Ireland and Portugal, and bribing the UK to take Germany’s side. Working in tandem with German carmakers (which used the leverage from their plants in Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary) enough votes were secured to block the deal in a heated session of the Environment Council.

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