Leaked EU Emissions Testing Regulation Proposals Would Allow For Big Increase In Legal Particulate Emissions

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While the Volkswagen diesel emissions cheating scandal seems to have forced European Union authorities to acknowledge some of the shadier elements of the continent’s auto industry, industry influence on policymakers seems to be as strong as ever — as evidenced by recently leaked draft proposals for “real-world” vehicle emissions testing.


The leaked regulation proposals would allow cars and light-commercial vehicles to release up to 50% more particulate pollution legally, than is currently the case. This is as a result of the 50% permissible tolerance/conformity level included in the proposals, meant to address the fact that portable testing systems “have a greater measurement error on the road compared with different devices used in laboratories.”

florent-grelierTransport & Environment’s clean vehicles engineer, Florent Grelier, commented: “Our position is it should be 30%, based on results from the Commission’s in-house Joint Research Center. … Our other concern is that the current (portable) devices do not measure the whole range of particles. The current EU particle definition is based on particles emitted by diesel engines, while those emitted by new petrol-engine cars are much smaller and more harmful to human health.”

Notably, the European auto industry apparently wants the tolerance level be set at 300%, so you could claim that the 50% figure is a compromise of a sort. Though, it’s certainly one that still benefits the auto industry at the expense of citizen health and productivity.

Taking a nuanced look at the draft proposals, it seems that rather than addressing the concerns brought to the fore by the Volkswagen scandal, the changes will actually weaken vehicle emissions standards in the EU.

WardsAuto provides more: “Lucia Caudet, spokesperson for the European Commission’s directorate-general for internal markets, industry, entrepreneurship and small and medium-sized enterprises, tells WardsAuto the draft, called RDE3, is being discussed by the EU’s Technical Committee of Motor Vehicles, with a vote expected by year-end. Afterward, the European Parliament and EU Council of Ministers have 3 months to assess, accept or block the proposal.”

As noted by Transport & Environment, if the proposals do go into effect, all that’s really happening is that the way is being paved for a variation on the theme of the recent dieselgate. Considering how significantly air quality relates to worker health and productivity, you would think that the local authorities would be taking things more seriously.

Florent Grelier photo via Twitter

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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