MEPs and the European Commission must stand firm on delivering a proper fix of Europe’s system of testing and approving cars, sustainable transport group Transport & Environment has said, after EU governments today agreed to waterdown some of the reforms. Governments opposed independent EU-level oversight of national type approval authorities – the regulators which allowed Volkswagen and other carmakers to cheat vehicle emissions tests and put 35 million dirty diesel cars on our roads. 
More than one-and-a-half years after the dieselgate scandal erupted the number of dirty diesels poisoning the air Europeans breathe keeps growing. New T&E research shows that there are 35 million of these diesel cars and vans driving on Europe’s roads today, six million more than in 2015. These Euro 5 and 6 diesel cars and vans were sold in Europe between 2011 and 2016 and exceed the nitrogen oxides (NOx) limits by at least three times (1).
T&E are calling on the Commission to promote distance-based charging for passenger cars in the upcoming review of the Eurovignette Directive. This position paper and summary briefing paper detail how charging road users for every kilometre that they drive can be a means to promote smarter transport behaviour and, if implemented correctly, increase the uptake of cleaner vehicles.
Governments from major carmaking countries – notably Germany, Italy and Spain – are holding back efforts to strengthen the system of testing and approving vehicles that has allowed millions of air-polluting cars on Europe’s roads, according to official documents and informal minutes seen by Transport & Environment (T&E). The three governments oppose new checks by the European Commission to confirm that cars, once sold, continue to produce acceptable levels of emissions.
It has been more than a year since the European Commission presented its type approval proposals (or TAFR) to reform the current system of vehicles testing following the Dieselgate scandal. Following extensive consideration by the European Parliament and Council of Ministers, the final negotiations to agree the changes are imminent. The Parliament voted its position on 4 April; the Council is expected to agree most technical details at a working group meeting on the 26 and 27 April and reach a final agreement at the Competitiveness Council on 29 May.
A solution to the long-standing confusion over how much pollution cars really emit is being pioneered by the cities of London and Paris. A new scheme, in which T&E is a partner, will measure real-world emissions from cars and make them available to the public via a special website. The mayor of Paris described the scheme as ‘not anti-car, just anti-pollution’.
New powers for the European Commission to spot check cars on the road and properly scrutinise national regulators over enforcement of safety and emissions rules have received an overwhelming backing of MEPs. The European Parliament supported a raft of proposals to further strengthen the Commission's original proposal for the reform of vehicles type approval. However, parliamentarians rejected the establishment of an EU testing regulator, which T&E said would have ensured a Dieselgate scandal could never happen again.
MEPs today missed an opportunity to ensure a Dieselgate scandal can never happen again by rejecting an EU testing regulator, sustainable transport NGO Transport & Environment (T&E) has said. The European Parliament’s plenary voted against establishing an EU Vehicle Surveillance Agency which would have ended the current discredited system in which national regulators have been captured by their carmaker clients. Parliament did, however, support a raft of proposals to further strengthen the European Commission's strong original proposal.
Following the Dieselgate emissions scandal, European policy-makers are currently discussing the reform of the EU vehicle testing system (or the Type Approval Framework Regulation - TAFR). This briefing outlines why the legislative proposal is a once-in-a-decade opportunity to fix today’s obsolete and ineffective way of checking that cars, vans, trucks and their parts and components meet EU safety and environmental standards.
On 4 April MEPs will have a unique opportunity to cast their vote to secure independent, robust checks on vehicles by voting for a European Vehicle Surveillance Agency. As the European Parliament's Dieselgate inquiry committee (EMIS) has so clearly articulated, “Member states have not been up to the task in implementing EU legislation on vehicles and establishing appropriate market surveillance.”