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.
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.
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."
Road transport is one of the few EU sectors where CO2 emissions continue to grow. To address the problem, the Commission plans to publish its proposals on car and van CO2 standards in November, followed by fuel efficiency standards for trucks in early 2018. Using its new EUTRM model, Transport & Environment has analysed the emission reductions of different ambition levels and their contribution to help achieve the 2030 non-ETS targets required from road transport. The key results are:
Platform for Electro-Mobility reaction to European Parliament ITRE commitee vote on EPBDToday MEPs voted for electric vehicle charging points to be required in all new non-residential buildings. As they are more frequented than private buildings, large non-residential buildings ensure high visibility for and intensive use of EV charging points, the Platform for Electro-Mobility  said, welcoming the European Parliament industry committee's decision.
T&E has got hold of Italy’s Dieselgate emissions investigation. The report proves that the home carmaker got special treatment, e.g. Fiat’s cars were tested in carmakers’ own labs and some even “exempted” from undergoing more demanding tests. This shows what is going to happen if type approval rules are not tightened up and all enforcement continues to sit with national authorities.