Originally published on Gas2.
Oh, those dirty rotten scoundrels at Volkswagen. They deliberately programmed their diesel cars to report lower emissions than actually occurred in real world driving. Their lack of concern for the environment has increased our risk of heart disease, emphysema, and the heartbreak of psoriasis. How could they do this to us? All the other carmakers have complied with applicable diesel emissions limits. Why is Volkswagen the only one to flout the law?
Well, actually, boys and girls, it now appears that virtually all diesel automobiles emit far more nitrous oxide emissions out on the road than they do in the lab. According to The Guardian, European testing company Emissions Analytics has tested almost 200 diesel cars from Audi, Renault, Nissan, Hyundai, Citroen, Fiat, Volvo, Jeep, Mercedes Benz, Honda, Mazda, and Mitsubishi and found all but five of them emitted more nitrous oxide emissions in normal driving than they did during official testing — up to 20 times more.
The Emissions Analytics on-road testing program is carefully controlled and closely matches the real-world test the European commission wants to introduce. The company tested both Euro 6 models, the newest and strictest standard, and earlier Euro 5 models.
“The issue is a systemic one” across the industry, said Nick Molden, of Emissions Analytics. Molden said his company had analyzed about 50 Euro 6 diesels and 150 Euro 5 diesels, with only five having real-world nitrous oxide levels that matched the regulatory test. The failure of the European Union’s nitrous oxide test to limit real-world emissions, and tackle air pollution, has been known for some years, but specific manufacturers have not been named.
“The VW issue in the US was purely the trigger which threw light on a slightly different problem in the EU widespread legal over-emissions,” Molden said. “For nitrous oxide, [diesel] cars are on average four times over the legal limit, because of the lenient nature of the test cycle in the EU.” The Emissions Analytics tests showed 4x4s to have the highest NOx emissions, with several unnamed models emitting 15 times official levels and one more than 20 times.
Friends of the Earth air pollution campaigner Jenny Bates said: “With further manufacturers implicated, this is yet more evidence that this scandal goes way beyond VW, and should cause decision makers to question the very future of diesel vehicles on our roads. This is a massive public health disgrace and the failure to prevent vehicles breaking pollution rules will have cost lives.” Indeed, Jenny Bates. Indeed.
Car companies were quick to respond. “Since real-world driving conditions do not generally reflect those in the laboratory, the consumption figures may differ from the standardized figures,” sniffed a spokesman for Mercedes-Benz. “Honda tests vehicles in accordance with European legislation,” said a company representative. “In compliance with the law, Mazda works hard to ensure that every petrol and diesel engine it makes fully complies with the regulations,” was the word from Mazda. Mitsubishi confronted the issue most directly. “The NEDC (the EU’s official lab-based regulatory test) was never intended to represent real-world driving,” its spokesman said.
“These new test results [from Emissions Analytics] prove that the Volkswagen scandal is just the tip of the iceberg. What we are seeing here is a dieselgate that covers many brands and many different car models,” said Greg Archer, an emissions expert at Transport & Environment, the UK equivalent of the Department of Transportation and EPA in the US. “The only solution is a strict new test that takes place on the road and verified by an authority not paid by the car industry.”
Amen to that, Greg. Are you listening, EPA? Because this man is talking to you, too.
Reprinted with permission.