Friday

24th May 2019

EU countries resist car lobby on new emissions tests

  • The EU commission's Vehicle Emissions Test Laboratory in Ispra, Italy (Photo: European Commission)

A lobbying effort to delay the introduction of a new testing method for car emissions has failed, as EU countries on Tuesday (14 June) decided to stick to the starting date proposed by the EU Commission.

The current test being used in laboratories is outdated and there are huge discrepancies between test results and emissions in the real world.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • In this Commission building in Brussels, the Technical Committee - Motor Vehicles met Tuesday to decide on the introduction date of the WLTP test (Photo: Peter Teffer)

The commission proposed to start applying the new test from 1 September 2017, but environmental groups feared member states would give the car industry a year respite.

EU commission spokeswoman Lucia Caudet told EUobserver on Wednesday that a qualified majority of member states supported the commission's proposal, saying they adopted “a new, more realistic, test procedure for measuring CO2 emissions and fuel consumption from cars and vans”.

“The new test will be a strong incentive for the deployment of low-carbon mobility technologies,” she said.

WLTP: Less loopholes

The new test is called the Worldwide harmonised Light vehicles Test Procedures (WLTP) and it will replace the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC), first introduced in 1970.

Tests consist of a succession of strictly fixed actions, like accelerating, braking, and standing idle.

The current tests allow carmakers to optimise their cars for the test, a 2014 research paper by the International Council on Clean Transportation explained.

“Even though this is not illegal, strictly speaking, it contradicts the intentions of the original NEDC regulations,” the authors wrote.

“When switching from NEDC to WLTP, which limits these flexibilities and closes 'loopholes' in the NEDC procedure, CO2 emission values will become more representative of real-world driving and customers will benefit from these improved values.”

CO2 measurements

The WLTP method is most relevant for measuring emissions of CO2, a greenhouse gas contributing to potentially disastrous climate change.

The gap between lab results and real-world emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx), which causes air pollution that can damage health, is being bridged by a new on-the-road test, called the real driving emissions test (RDE).

Both RDE and the WLTP will be introduced on 1 September 2017.

As of that date, national authorities will no longer be allowed hand out the certificates carmakers need to put their cars on the market if the car hasn't been tested with the WLTP method. Cars that have received their certificate between now and 1 September 2017 may be sold until 1 September 2018.

The decision took place behind closed doors at a meeting of the Technical Committee – Motor Vehicles.

The same technical committee was also responsible for the vote on the RDE, last October. Environmental groups criticised that diesel carmakers will be allowed to exceed EU limits by a factor of 2.1 until 2020.

The European Parliament was not directly involved, but has three months to raise objections. It can only accept or reject the decision.

"The adoption of this new test is a big win for consumers. They have been demanding more realistic information about the fuel consumption and emissions performance of their cars for years," said the Brussels-based consumer lobby group BEUC in a statement on Wednesday.

Environmental group Transport & Environment (T&E) was also happy.

“We congratulate Commissioner [for industry Elzbieta] Bienkowska and her team on standing firm against the pressure of some member states that are under the thumb of the car industry," T&E said in a statement.

Use 25% of budget on climate change, urge EU states

A discussion document by eight EU countries is piling on the pressure for the EU to do more to fight climate change. But their demands are likely to meet German resistance as leaders gather in Romania to discuss Europe's future.

News in Brief

  1. Some EU citizens turned away at UK polling stations
  2. Switzerland unlikely to sign draft EU deal
  3. UK sacked defence secretary backs Johnson for leader
  4. Dutch voter turnout so far slightly down on 2014
  5. Report: Hungary's Fidesz 'bought' Belgian official
  6. Poll: Denmark set to double number of liberal MEPs
  7. European brands 'breaking' chemical safety rules
  8. Report: Merkel was lobbied to accept EU top job

Greens commit to air quality 'super commissioner'

Following an investigation into the Dieselgate scandal, the European Parliament recommended a single commissioner should be responsible for both air quality and setting industrial standards. But only the Greens want to commit to carry out that advice.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  3. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  4. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  5. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  6. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  11. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  12. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year

Latest News

  1. Polling booths open in UK's limbo EU election
  2. Dutch PM puts EU exit on agenda with election gamble
  3. EU development aid used to put European police in Senegal
  4. EU should stop an insane US-Iran war
  5. EU faces moment of truth at midnight on Sunday
  6. Dutch MPs: EU sanctions should bear Magnitsky name
  7. Far-right hate speech flooded Facebook ahead of EU vote
  8. Key details on how Europeans will vote

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  3. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  8. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership
  9. Intercultural Dialogue PlatformRoundtable: Muslim Heresy and the Politics of Human Rights, Dr. Matthew J. Nelson
  10. Platform for Peace and JusticeTurkey suffering from the lack of the rule of law
  11. UNESDASoft Drinks Europe welcomes Tim Brett as its new president
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers take the lead in combatting climate change

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us