Following the release of findings estimating that around 20% of all lorries operating in Eastern Europe are outfitted with “AdBlue Killers” — aftermarket devices allowing operators to bypass or disable AdBlue NOx reduction systems — the Brussels-based trade association known as the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) is calling for strong action to deal with the problem.
The ACEA represents 15 of the top truck and van manufacturers in Europe, it should be noted — including Daimler Trucks, MAN Truck & Bus, DAF Trucks, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, Scania, Iveco, and Volvo Group — so the push is noteworthy.
“The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) strongly condemns the advertising, sale and use of any aftermarket device that can be used by truck operators to turn off emission control systems,” stated ACEA Secretary General Erik Jonnaert.
It’s notable here that the ACEA actually broached the topic with the European Commission back in 2012, but this action apparently led to no changes. (The Danish government also raised the issue a few years ago, but the decision was made at the time to allow national governments to sort out the problem themselves.)
To provide some more background here, AdBlue injection systems reduce the NOx (nitrogen dioxide) emissions that are released by diesel trucks though the controlled injection of AdBlue fluid at specific points— in return for using a NOx reduction system like this, various tax breaks and toll exemptions are on offer. But, as the use of such systems raises operating costs, some trucking operators have been using aftermarket “AdBlue Killers” or “AdBlue Emulators” to avoid these higher operating costs while still qualifying for relevant tax breaks and toll exemptions. This of course results in much higher NOx emissions than would otherwise be the case.
As far as the actions that the ACEA is calling on the European Commission and its various member states to take, here’s an overview:
- Ban the advertising and sale of any aftermarket device (hardware or software) that can bypass vehicle emission control systems or enable the removal of important parts of the emission control system.
- Apply random road-side enforcement by police who are authorised to stop and check vehicles, so that truck operators are aware that if they are caught using one of these devices, they will face a substantial fine, or their vehicle will be treated in the same way as if vehicle safety systems were defective.
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