When French investigators swooped on Renault last week to seize computers, it was yet another stark illustration of the systemic failure of car testing in Europe. Their investigation is linked to the Volkswagen emissions scandal, where national testing authorities failed to detect or even investigate the cheating – despite being made aware of the exceptionally high on-road emissions.
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.
BRAL Citizens Action Brussels, a Belgian NGO that aims at making Brussels more sustainable, will demonstrate in front of the European Council’s Justus Lipsius building (rue de la Loi 175, 1040 Brussels) tomorrow, Wednesday 16 from 11.30 a.m. as EU Environment Ministers to discuss air quality norms for 2030. The objective is to stress the urgency of taking strong measures to clean up the air we breathe and to push for stricter air quality limits.
The Environment Committee of the European Parliament today rejected a Member States’ proposal to weaken and delay nitrogen oxides (NOx) limits for diesel cars. Transport & Environment (T&E) welcomes this decision as a step towards preventing new diesel cars from pumping out excessive toxic fumes. It also stops a decision considered illegal  and sends a strong signal that the European Parliament is serious about the reputation of ‘made in Europe’ vehicles and laws.
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.
Today’s finding by the European Environment Agency that nitrogen dioxide (NO2) air pollution is responsible for an estimated 75,000 premature deaths in Europe shows how deplorable EU governments’ watering-down of diesel car NOx emissions limits is.  For the first time the EEA has estimated the number of premature deaths from nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which is largely created by diesel vehicles.