A few days ago, a top official at the US EPA, Christopher Grundler, testified before a European Parliament committee investigating the ongoing diesel emissions cheating scandals, providing us with a number of interesting comments.
Amongst other things, Grundler stated that Europe’s vehicle emissions testing process has been widely seen as being inadequate for decades now, and that if fraud (such as that practiced by Volkswagen with regard to its diesel vehicles and apparently by Fiat Chrysler as well) is to be curtailed, then much stricter enforcement will be needed.
“The European test cycle has been acknowledged quite broadly since the 1990s to be inadequate,” stated Grundler, director of the EPA’s transportation and air quality office, in a written response to lawmakers’ questions. “Our experience has been that a comprehensive approach is required that means testing vehicles in use as well as having the authority to then follow through enforcement actions.”
Reuters provides more:
“Asked whether the Real-Driving Emissions (RDE) test would stop carmakers from cheating, Grundler said EU regulators ‘still have more work to do.’ Gaps still have yet to be addressed in checking vehicle compliance, he said, such as testing for the robustness of exhaust-curbing technology after vehicles have been in use for some years or for the amount of gases spewed out when the engine is revving up, the heaviest discharge.
“It is not enough to have sound standards and sound test procedures,” Grundler stated. “How they are implemented in practice and the market surveillance aspects are also very, very important … that is the main challenge.”
Following that point up, Grundler noted that the EPA imposed around $1 billion in fines on the auto industry in the 1990s as a result of the use of devices such as the defeat device used by Volkswagen in many of its diesel vehicles in recent years. This acted as a “strong deterrent,” according to Grundler.