A new system for testing the emissions of cars following the Volkswagen ‘dieselgate’ scandal is being considered.
The proposed system would no longer allow car manufacturers to be directly involved with the technical service companies that test their vehicles.
Manufacturers would instead make financial contributions to a member state who would then pay the independent testing service. All member states would have access to review the results.
Spot checks would also be carried out on cars already on the road. Any found to be in breach of emission regulations would leave the manufacturer liable to a €30,000 fine per vehicle.
The European Commission, for the first time, would have a role in verifying the tests being conducted by the technical service providers and could withdraw or suspend their licence to test.
The ability for one country to test and certify a car’s official emissions will continue, and the result would be accepted by all. Germany, the EU’s biggest car manufacturer, has carried out most of the testing up to now.
Last week, British consumer association Which! found 95% of diesel cars and 10% of petrol vehicles it tested pumped out far more NOx than permitted, while petrol cars exceeded the EU’s carbon monoxide limit.
“It’s not just Volkswagen. In fact, it’s not just diesel engines, either. It’s almost everyone,” said Which!
“The majority of cars exceed EU emission limits when faced with our more realistic tests.
“Some modern cars are so excessive in their production of NOx and CO that, in our tests, they would fail to meet any EU emission limits from this century.”
Which! said “the tests are the culprits”. The tests allowed cars to be laboratory tested and pared down, with wing mirrors removed, door openings sealed, and the resulting emissions named as typical for that vehicle type.
New rules to rectify this are due to be voted on by the European Parliament next Wednesday, allowing carmakers to keep manufacturing cars with emissions well above the EU rules, and give them a number of years to implement reductions.
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