EU To Actually Get Ability To Check Up on Member State Car Emissions Tests
When it comes to testing its vehicles, it’s probably safe to say that, until lately, the European Union would not be classified as “tough.” Instead, the EU has long used a very lax emissions testing system, and has relied on its member nations to regulate the vehicles sold within their borders by themselves, which, as the Dieselgate scandal has shown, has been a bit like setting the fox to watch the henhouse.
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However, in light of the problematic regulation problems and flying accusations of emissions cheating, the EU’s negotiators have agreed to give the central administration the power to give those tests a second look, as well as to set targets for emissions checks. The new rules also give the European Commission the ability to fine manufacturers directly and trigger EU-wide recalls.
These rules were actually first proposed in 2015 in the wake of the emissions scandal, and resulted in a two-year fight until this past week automaking countries Germany and Italy dropped their objections to avoid a repeat of the scandal—according to one EU diplomat, “they started to see the PR problem.” The rules now need to be approved by the Parliament and member states.
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This comes after a period of independent testing showing that, on the road, emissions for vehicles across the board are far higher than the regulatory limit, to the point of emitting 15 times the allowed nitrogen oxide. Combined with better testing, it looks like vehicles in Europe are about to get much more efficient.