Saturday

17th Feb 2018

Investigation

EU and US in talks on car emissions cheats

  • As a “modest American”, Grundler said he was “very reluctant to tell other countries what to do” (Photo: europarl.europa.eu)

Following the Volkswagen scandal, authorities from the EU, US, and other countries have set up an informal network to discuss how to prevent cheating by car companies.

A second meeting has been held recently in Ispra, Italy, Christopher Grundler of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) told members of the European Parliament's Dieselgate inquiry committee on Monday (26 September).

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

“Our concrete plan is ... to have routine dialogue, to share information and experiences in the areas of compliance oversight, testing, and enforcement,” said Grundler, who is the EPA's director of the Office of Transportation and Air Quality.

“This past meeting we briefed our colleagues on where we stood with the VW matter, we shared ... some information about our new unpredictable testing, as well as advances we are making to make [tests] cheaper and more efficient, so we can do more of them.”

It was the second meeting under the new format, the first one having taken place in April in Ann Arbor in the American state of Michigan, at the EPA's office.

According to a second source, the Ispra meeting was attended by representatives from Germany, UK, France, Netherlands, Sweden, United States, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Brazil, as well as by officials from the European Commission's industry directorate-general, and its in-house science body, the Joint Research Centre, which hosted the meeting.

Grundler made his remarks as part of his testimony to the EU parliament's inquiry committee on emissions cheating.

MEPs have wondered for months why the Volkswagen Group (VW) scandal was revealed in the United States, and not in Europe, even though authorities on both sides of the Atlantic had the same information, including a crucial report by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT).

One year ago, VW admitted to having used cheating software after it could not explain the much higher emissions on the road, compared to laboratory tests.

The case triggered questions about the effectiveness of the European system, which still has strong powers and responsibilities residing at the national level. By contrast, the EPA is a federal agency, acting independently from the American states.

Grundler noted that with 28 different member states, the EU has “a very different context”, which provides its own challenges.

Modest American

The official was being very diplomatic, joking that as a “modest American”, he was “very reluctant to tell other countries what to do”.

Nevertheless, those who listened between the lines heard indirect criticism of the relatively relaxed standpoint European regulators have taken towards car companies emitting beyond EU limits, in comparison to the treatment VW has received in the United States.

Dutch left-wing MEP Bas Eickhout, of the Greens group, asked Grundler about a German report, which recently revealed that 48 of 53 tested cars had higher emissions when the engine was warm, than when it was cold.

The report cast suspicions of those 48 cars having been tailored to the test, since laboratory emission tests in the EU are done with a cold engine.

From an engineering point of view such a result “does not make sense to me”, said Grundler.

Eickhout asked a follow-up question, on whether “this very particular behaviour, would that not constitute for you a reason to do more proper and deeper investigation into the matter?”.

“I know what you're trying to do here,” said Grundler, referring to Eickhout’s invitation for the US official to criticise the German transport ministry.

“I'll only say that both the ICCT and the state of California when they were testing these VW products, noticed this behaviour and that was counterintuitive, they kept asking probing questions as to why this should be so, and getting inadequate answers”, he said.

RDE

More generally, Grundler noted that the real-drive emissions (RDE) tests, which will be mandatory for carmakers as of next year, will not be enough.

“It is no simple matter to uncover cheating,” he said.

“It requires more than simply an RDE. It requires an RDE, it requires a competent laboratory, and it requires experienced engineers, to uncover this, and to know how to ask the right questions.”

Interview

Learn from US on emissions, says former EPA chief

Europe should increase fines on emissions-cheating software and monitor carmakers more closely, says a former senior official at the US Environmental Protection Agency.

VW diesel repairs could take until 2019

German car company has fixed 5.4 million of the 8.5 million European diesel cars that were equipped with emissions-cheating software. Some consumers have decided to shun Volkswagen Group forever.

Interview

Dieselgate disappointed car-loving commissioner

Industry commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska often finds herself on opposite sides to the car industry, referring to diesel engines as the "technology of the past".

News in Brief

  1. Merkel: Nord Stream 2 pipeline poses 'no danger'
  2. Spanish king in Barcelona next week
  3. Turkey jails journalists for life
  4. Make budget cuts in farm and regional funds, the Dutch say
  5. UN: Hungary's anti-migration bill is 'assault on human rights'
  6. Journalist Deniz Yucel freed in Turkey
  7. New organic farming bill not ready until late spring
  8. Commissioner: Western Balkans in EU is 'obvious'

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsUzbekistan: Investigate Torture of Journalist
  2. EPSUMovie Premiere: 'Up to The Last Drop' - 22 February, Brussels
  3. CESICESI@Noon on ‘Digitalisation & Future of Work: Social Protection For All?’ - March 7
  4. UNICEFExecutive Director's Committment to Tackling Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region 2018: Facts, Figures and Rankings of the 74 Regions
  6. Mission of China to the EUDigital Economy Shaping China's Future, Over 30% of GDP
  7. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.Suing the Governments of Macedonia and Greece for Changing Macedonia's Name
  8. Dialogue PlatformBeyond the Errors in the War on Terror: How to Fight Global Militarism - 22 February
  9. Swedish EnterprisesHarnessing Globalization- at What Cost? Keynote Speaker Commissioner Malmström
  10. European Friends of ArmeniaSave The Date 28/02: “Nagorno-Karabakh & the EU: 1988-2018”
  11. European Heart NetworkSmart CAP is Triple Win for Economy, Environment and Health
  12. European Free AlllianceEFA Joined the Protest in Aiacciu to Solicit a Dialogue After the Elections

Latest News

  1. EU asks charities to explain anti-abuse measures
  2. ECB, Budget, EU elections This WEEK
  3. EU states stay mute on implementation of mercury bill
  4. Baltic states demand bigger EU budget
  5. Germany raises concerns over Hungary's 'Stop Soros' bills
  6. EU ties Brexit transition talks to divorce agreement
  7. EU divided over Western Balkan enlargement
  8. Facebook and Twitter weak on protecting users, says EU

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EPSUDrinking Water Directive Step Forward but Human Right to Water Not Recognized
  2. European Gaming & Betting AssociationGambling Operators File Data Protection Complaint Against Payment Block in Norway
  3. European Jewish CongressEJC Expresses Deep Concern Over Proposed Holocaust Law in Poland
  4. CECEConstruction Industry Gets Together to Discuss the Digital Revolution @ the EU Industry Days
  5. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Relations in the New Era
  6. European Free AlllianceEnd Discrimination of European Minorities - Sign the Minority Safepack Initiative
  7. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Diversity Shouldn’t Be Only a Slogan” Lorant Vincze (Fuen) Warns European Commission
  8. Dialogue PlatformWhat Can Christians Learn from a Global Islamic Movement?
  9. European Jewish CongressEJC President Warns Europe as Holocaust Memory Fades
  10. European Free AlllianceNo Justice From the Spanish Supreme Court Ruling
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Solutions for Sustainable Cities: New Grants Awarded for Branding Projects
  12. Mission of China to the EUTrade Between China, Belt and Road Countries up 15%