EU countries today agreed to strengthen rules governing how cars are approved for sale in Europe, with the goal of preventing another dieselgate. Sustainable transport group Transport & Environment (T&E) welcomes the decision but warns that only proper scrutiny and real enforcement of the new rules will prevent carmakers from cheating again.
*See footnotes for quotes in French and GermanThe European Commission’s announcement of CO2 targets for cars and vans today is a gift to Europe’s carmakers and fails to tackle the EU’s biggest climate problem, transport, campaigners Transport & Environment (T&E) said.
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 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.
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.
Average gap between real-world fuel consumption and lab results for Mercedes cars is a whopping 54%, with the Mercedes A and E class reaching an inexplicable 56%. Industry wide, the gap becomes a 42% abyss, up from 28% only three years ago. Deceptive fuel consumption figures costs the typical driver in Europe around €549 a year in additional fuel bills compared to the official claims.
Whilst the rest of the economy has leapt forward to embrace digitalisation, transport has remained largely analogue. The internal combustion engine, a workhorse from the 19th century, stills powers virtually all vehicles using oil that chokes our cities and heats the planet.
Reacting to the own-initiative report by MEP Bas Eickhout on the Low Emission Mobility adopted today in plenary, Yoann Le Petit, clean vehicles officer at T&E, said: “The Parliament have shown they are serious about cleaning up Europe’s transport sector. MEPs have confirmed they want to see ambitious 2025 CO2 targets as well as a separate sales target for zero emission vehicles. In the forthcoming debates on the Second Mobility Package, Parliament has signaled it sees decarbonisation as a key pillar of the mobility revolution and complementary to a competitive industry that will secure jobs and investments in Europe."
Against the background of the Bonn Climate Change Conference and the release of the second Clean mobility package by the European Commission, the Spanish Government is elaborating Spain's Industrial Strategy. It feels like high time to secure the currently leading position of the Spanish vehicle and components manufacturers’ industries. Does it make sense to keep manufacturing internal combustion engines when the rest of the world goes in the opposite direction?
Following the unhelpful intervention of the Juncker Cabinet it would be preferable to delay the proposal and negotiate on key points to produce a stronger outcome. The alternative is to issue a weak proposal that does not put the EU on a track to meet its climate goals and the EU industry on a path to becoming globally competitive and manufacturing new technology vehicles in the EU.