MEPs today backed the establishment of a new EU agency to fix Europe’s broken vehicle approval system, which is central to avoiding a second Dieselgate. Sustainable transport group Transport & Environment (T&E) said the European Parliament’s VW inquiry committee (EMIS) report brings us closer to the truth behind the diesel emissions scandal in Europe and how it should have been avoided.
EU industry ministers will discuss the key points of contention in the EU vehicle testing reform proposal – issues that national officials have been unable to agree on. These issues will be presented in a progress report by the Maltese Presidency on the “Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and the Council on the approval and market surveillance of motor vehicles and their trailers and of systems, components and separate technical units intended for such vehicles”. The meeting takes place in Brussels, beginning at 10.00 on Monday (20 February 2017). The progress report is item 5 on the agenda.
Today’s vote by MEPs to reform vehicle emissions testing moves Europe one step closer to injecting rigour and independence into its flawed system of car testing, green transport NGO Transport & Environment (T&E) has said. The European Parliament’s internal market committee (IMCO) strengthened the European Commission’s proposal in several key areas including granting unrestricted powers to the Commission to check cars on the road and penalise carmakers as well as national approval authorities not doing their job.
A typical driver spends €549 a year more on fuel than official figures claim and the use of these “alternative facts” must end says the pan-European campaign Get Real – Demand fuel figures you can trust that is being launched today. Setup by Germany’s Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) and Brussels-based European Federation for Transport & Environment (T&E), the online tool get-real.org highlights the costs and environmental impact of cars guzzling fuel. The campaign encourages consumers and politicians to demand realistic fuel consumption figures from carmakers.
Today the European Commission published guidelines for member states to interpret the 2007 emissions law and identify illegal defeat devices being used by carmakers to cheat emissions tests. T&E welcomed the move, which will deny governments the excuses they have used for failing to regulate engines emitting poisonous fumes. However, as the guidelines are not applied retroactively, they will not address the millions of polluting cars that have already been sold.
Transport & Environment (T&E) welcomes the draft report and recommendations of the European Parliament’s investigation into the Volkswagen emissions testing scandal, known as the EMIS committee. The draft Dieselgate report, presented by co-rapporteurs MEPs Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy and Jens Gieseke, rightly identifies the key failures of national regulators to implement the current rules on vehicle testing: failure to independently test cars in order to verify cars’ performance on the road; failure to search for illegal defeat devices despite clear obligations to do so; and failure to put in place and apply dissuasive penalties on car manufacturers.
The European Commission has outlined its plans for new car and truck safety rules. Under the Commission's plans new cars would be fitted with intelligent speed assistance and emergency braking systems. For trucks, the Commission plans to introduce the world's first-ever direct vision standard to tackle truck blind spots. The new rules will be proposed as legislation in the summer of 2017 and would apply to all vehicles sold in the European Union. T&E welcomes the Commission's plans but warns that direct vision trucks must hit the road well before 2028.
New independent research points to carmakers again manipulating official tests – this time on safety by adjusting indirect tyre pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) to pass the lab test but failing to perform on the road. The TPMS are designed to alert the driver when their tyres are deflating or are at a dangerously low pressure, but €10-cheaper indirect systems have failed most of the on-road tests commissioned by green group Transport & Environment (T&E), putting drivers, passengers, pedestrians and cyclists at greater risk of dangerous blow-outs.
Governments and carmakers are pushing for new petrol-engine cars to be allowed to emit over a hundred times more particles and thereby avoid fitting a gasoline particulate filter costing just €25. The evidence emerged in leaks of draft EU regulations, governments’ positions and car industry briefings obtained by Transport & Environment. The concerted efforts to weaken the already inadequate Real-driving Emissions (RDE) proposal – to be agreed with member states by the end of the year – are paving the way for a future ‘Petrolgate’ air pollution scandal, the sustainable transport group said.