Economy, Auto

EU Automakers Oppose Tough Testing Tenets

EU Automakers Oppose  Tough Testing Tenets EU Automakers Oppose  Tough Testing Tenets

European carmakers said on Friday tougher emissions testing rules agreed this week would hurt the industry by forcing the early phase-out of some diesel models and making it harder to meet carbon dioxide limits.

After hours of talks on Wednesday, European Union countries agreed a compromise deal that would still allow diesel vehicles on the road to emit twice the level of toxic nitrous oxides permitted by official limits measured in laboratories, prompting outrage from Green politicians who say they will challenge it, Reuters reports.

However, that would be a significant reduction from the current situation, where some diesel vehicles emit four to five times more nitrous oxides than official limits.

European leaders have been spurred into action by German carmaker Volkswagen’s admission last month that it cheated US diesel emissions tests, a scandal that has shone a spotlight on the huge differences between the laboratory test results of vehicles and their actual performance on the roads.

In its first public response, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association, which represents firms such as Volkswagen, said the deal was very challenging.

“As a direct consequence, a substantial number of diesel models will have to be phased out earlier than planned,” it said in a statement.

It would also make it harder, it said, for the industry to meet EU goals to reduce planet-warming carbon dioxide. While diesel engines emit more nitrous oxides, they produce 15-20% less carbon than comparable gasoline engines.

Europe’s car industry is a major source of export income and is particularly powerful in Germany, home to BMW and Daimler as well as Volkswagen.

Wednesday’s deal will allow new models to produce more than double an official NOx limit of 80 milligrams/kilometer for two years from September 2017. From 2020, cars would still be able to emit up to 50% more than the official ceiling.

In a statement announcing the deal, the European Commission, the EU executive, said it meant that from early next year, the EU would be the first region in the world to start phasing in tests of new vehicles on real roads and not just in laboratories.