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  • EU rows back on third-party testing of vehicle emissions

    The EU has rowed back on plans to allow all third parties to test vehicles’ on-road air pollution after they have been sold. While green transport group Transport & Environment (T&E) welcomes the agreement [1] reached today by EU governments and the European Commission, it regrets that the final agreement no longer allows third parties other than technical labs to perform real-driving emissions tests and trigger action against poisonous NOx from cars. It was an independent test in the US that lead to the exposure of the Dieselgate scandal.

    T&E welcomed new powers for national type approval authorities to check new vehicles when they are in service – in the past it was largely carmakers that performed these tests that happen after the vehicle is sold. However, the required minimum share of vehicles to be tested – 5% per carmaker – is too low, especially since most Euro 6 standard vehicles massively exceed the legal NOx limits in real-world conditions.

    Florent Grelier, clean vehicles engineer at T&E, said: “The European Commission reneged on its plan to allow all independent third parties to check new cars emissions once they’ve been sold. A chance to better safeguard citizens’ health has not been fully grasped.”

    T&E further notes that the conformity factor – the margin by which carmakers can overshoot the emissions limits – was tightened slightly but not enough to honour the promise to the European Parliament back in 2016 that it would be eliminated.

    Note to editors:

    [1] The Technical Committee on Motor Vehicles (TCMV), which includes technical experts from EU member states and the European Commission, reached agreement on the 4th package of the Real Driving Emission test regulation.