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.
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.
This is the fifth in a series of eight snippets about how to decarbonise land freight by 2050. Based on a new T&E study, the series will culminate in a public debate in Brussels in September.
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 European Parliament will vote next week on whether to strengthen the proposal for Europe’s key climate law, the so-called Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR) – or ‘Climate Action Regulation’, the name agreed by the environment committee. MEPs will be asked to back a more ambitious starting point than the European Commission’s proposal and to close some loopholes to ensure member states actually reduce their emissions.
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).
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.
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.