In the last few days several announcements have demonstrated how the initial exposure of Volkswagen’s cheating US tests is merely the tip of an iceberg of test manipulation. In the US more models, including models from Porsche, have been accused of having illegal levels of diesel NOx emissions. This was followed by VW admitting that it overstated fuel economy and CO2 figures by 10-15% on 800,000 vehicles, including petrol cars. In a further announcement, the environmental group Deutsche Umwelthilfe (Environmental Action Germany, DUH) exposed suspicious test results on an Opel Zafira. General Motors deny any wrongdoing.
EU governments have agreed to new limits for nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from diesel cars that are double the ‘Euro 6’ levels agreed back in 2007. They have also delayed the implementation of new limits for all new cars until 2019. From 2021, all new cars will still be allowed to emit 50% more NOx than the Euro 6 limit of 80mg/km.
The full European Parliament today called on the European Commission and member states to introduce an ambitious on-the-road test in 2017 to finally meet the current Euro 6 limit for diesel cars of 80mg of nitrogen oxides (NOx) per km. The MEPs’ resolution also asked the Commission to set up a European certification authority that will oversee the work of the national type approval authorities to ensure independence from the car industry. Only cars randomly taken from the production line should be tested, MEPs concluded. Currently, national authorities only test ‘golden vehicles’ that are specially prepared for passing the tests, and no systematic checks take place afterwards.
- The reinsertion of international aviation and shipping emissions into the draft Paris agreement has been welcomed by sustainable transport group Transport & Environment after it was dropped from text issued by the talks’ co-chairs on 5 October. However, the draft’s language needs to be considerably strengthened if it is to help curb the two sectors’ growing climate impact, T&E said.
Europeans pay 14 cent more on average in tax for a litre of petrol than for diesel – indirectly subsidising diesel cars to the order of €2,600 per vehicle, a new study by sustainable transport group Transport & Environment (T&E) finds. This 30% tax gap in favour of diesel is a key reason for diesel cars’ majority share of new sales in Europe and leads to air quality problems where nine out of 10 diesel cars fail to meet NOx limits when driven on the road. 
T&E’s German member Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) commissioned emissions testing on a Opel Zafira 1.6 CDTi (Euro 6b, 6,000 km) with a testing house at the Swiss Berner Fachhochschule.
MEPs today called on the EU and all other countries at this year’s Paris climate summit to ensure a requirement is included for reducing emissions from international aviation and shipping. Parliamentarians called for emissions reduction targets for both sectors to be set before the end of 2016 by the corresponding UN agencies, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
The aviation and shipping sectors are set to be exempt from targeted CO2 emissions cuts in the December Paris climate agreement, according to the latest draft deal. This is an irresponsible U-turn, say environmental groups Seas At Risk and Transport & Environment. CO2 emissions from the two sectors are set to grow by up to 250% by 2050, making attempts to limit global warming to 2°C all but impossible.
New cars, including the Mercedes A, C and E class, BMW 5 series and Peugeot 308, are now swallowing around 50% more fuel than their lab test results, new on-the-road results compiled by Transport & Environment (T&E) reveal. The gap between official and real-world performance found in many car models has grown so wide that it cannot be explained through known factors including test manipulations. While this does not constitute proof of ‘defeat devices’ being used to fiddle fuel economy tests, similar to that used by Volkswagen, EU governments must extend probes into defeat devices to CO2 tests and petrol cars too.
Eco-driving technology that will save motorists €30 to €50 year today received the backing of MEPs who called for mandatory fuel consumption meters for all new cars, vans and trucks. The European Parliament’s environment committee overwhelmingly voted for the meters to be fitted and permanently visible in all new vehicles from 1 January 2019, leading to fuel efficiency gains of 2-3% per year.