EU Requiring On-Road Emissions Tests In Wake of VW Scandal

European Union rules strengthening on-road vehicle emissions tests are being backed by EU-member nations.

The new standards expand testing to include ultrafine particles emitted from a new generation of gasoline direct-engine systems. These ultrafine particles cause thousands of early deaths, according to EU data.

Previous EU testing procedures had been discredited by the Volkswagen diesel emissions cheating scandal.

Although automakers had asked that they be delayed until 2019, the on-road rules for cars are to be in place by Sept. 2017, and for all vehicles by Sept. 2018.

“Car manufacturers should already start designing vehicles with lower particle emissions and introduce the necessary filters in (gasoline) cars that are already widely used for diesel,” Europe’s Industry Commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska said in a statement after the measures were approved at a regulatory committee meeting.

The decision came soon after the European Parliament issued a draft report criticizing delays in adopting new tests on car engine emissions. The report cited evidence that previous tests had allowed pollution to surge up to five times above legal limits.

Members of the Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer-Protection committee had debated changes during the fall over how to reform the regulatory structure. EU lawmakers had been under pressure to reform vehicle emissions testing, which put more pressure on the committee to come up with a solution.

British Conservative MEP (member in the European Parliament) Dan Dalton had been charged with coordinating the committee’s response to a European Commission proposal on revised emissions testing rules. Dalton advocated requirements for member countries to fund on-road testing. A switch to real-driving emissions testing using on-car portable emissions measurement devices would have provided more accurate testing and was more likely to have caught VW, he said.

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The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) said that automakers were left with too little time to implement the new rules.

One group supporting the new measure, Transport & Environment, said that automakers can use cheap technologies under the new rule such as gasoline particulate filters (GPF). That will reduce pollution from gasoline direct inject (GDI) engines, which are being criticized for emitting as much as 10 times more particles than previous generations of engines.

The new rules also regulate cold-engine starts as a way to reduce emissions from short city trips. During these starts, vehicles pollute much more than during other times during the trip.

Another part of the rule is that automakers are now being required to make emissions performance information available to consumers.

Reuters


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