This is T&E's report on why Europe’s obsession with diesel cars is bad for its economy, its drivers and the environment.
Two years after the Dieselgate scandal exposed the dirty nature of diesel cars, a new study (LINK TO STUDY) by Transport & Environment (T&E) shows that diesel cars not only pollute the air but also emit more climate-change emissions (CO2) than petrol cars. A lifecycle analysis of vehicle emissions proves that diesel cars over its lifetime emit 3.65 tonnes of CO2 more than a petrol equivalent. Diesel’s higher climate impact is due to a more energy-intensive refining of the diesel fuel; more materials required in the production of heavier and more complex engines; higher emissions from the biodiesel blended in the diesel fuel; and longer mileage because fuel is cheaper - see infographics below.
Today’s ‘diesel summit’ meeting of the German government and car industry shows the futility of spending huge sums of money on trying to make a diesel technology less dirty, sustainable transport NGO Transport & Environment (T&E) has said. In addition to a promised upgrade of emission control software, lawmakers and carmakers should also incentivise the uptake of electric vehicles – a proven clean technology – by investing in charging points and other measures.
The average car sits unused for more than 90% of the time, carries on average just one and a half people and costs, on average, €6,500 a year to own and run. Each car occupies 150m2 of urban land and still this is not the full bill – congestion costs the EU economy €100 billion annually. The convenience that made the car a 20th century icon has been eroded by its popularity.
The Italian government’s Dieselgate investigation allowed Fiat cars to be tested at the carmaker’s testing facility, the leaked results show. Other manufacturers’ vehicles were independently tested but the Italian carmaker used its Turin facilities to pass – and three out of seven Fiat-Chrysler cars were even “exempted” from undergoing more demanding tests. The shockingly easy treatment of Italy’s domestic carmaker is revealed in the government’s official report that had been presented to a European parliamentary committee (EMIS) but never officially published.
This report, released on the first anniversary of the Dieselgate scandal, exposes the shocking number of dirty diesel cars on the EU’s roads and the feeble regulation of cars by national authorities that have focused on protecting their own commercial interests or those of domestic carmakers. In the US, following the disclosure that VW had cheated emissions tests, justice has been swiftly and effectively delivered. This is in stark contrast to Europe where VW claims it has not acted illegally, no penalties have been levied and no compensation has been provided to customers.
An attempt at a ‘clean’ diesel comeback in Germany this month has been wrecked by claims that the country’s carmakers ran a cartel to bring down the cost of various components and technology – including on cutting emissions.
Transport & Environment (T&E) welcomes European Commission’s proposal today on smart road tolls and its commitment to zero-emission mobility. The Commission also reaffirmed its commitment to set stricter CO2 standards for cars, vans and, for the first time, trucks. These are moves in the right direction, but the real test of the EU’s intentions will be the ambition of the CO2 standards and whether it proposes a zero-emission vehicle mandate, the sustainable transport group said.
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).
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.