This is T&E's report on why Europe’s obsession with diesel cars is bad for its economy, its drivers and the environment.
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.
In November 2016 the Commission presented its new proposal for a Renewable Energy Directive in the 2021-2030 period. The main elements of the proposal on transport are to reduce the cap on food and feed-based biofuels to 3.8% in 2030 and to establish a mandate on fuel suppliers, requiring them to blend 6.8% of advanced fuels by 2030 (T&E’s position on biofuels in the RED can be found here).
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.
On 31 May 2017, the European Commission published its proposal to review the ‘Eurovignette’ Directive. The Directive defines how Member States of the European Union can charge vehicles for their use of road infrastructure and was conceived to ensure the proper functioning of the EU transport market. Transport accounts for around a quarter of EU GHG emissions. Meanwhile air pollution from road transport contributes to over 400,000 premature deaths per year, 26,000 people die in traffic annually, and the EU economy loses €100 bn every year in congestion. This briefing outlines why road charging is a key instrument to tackle this.
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.
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.
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.
The number of people dying on Europe’s roads nearly halved between 2000 and 2010. However, this spectacular progress has now grinded to a halt. In 2013, 4,000 people died on our roads. Since then until today fatality numbers have remained stable. For already several years the European Commission has promised to come up with a revision of the General Safety Regulation (GSR) which is completely outdated but so far nothing is on the table. Standards set in the GSR would apply to all new vehicles produced and sold in the EU. The GSR is therefore a key instrument to drive vehicle safety developments and accelerate market uptake of and investment in new lifesaving designs and technologies.