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European Union Industry Commissioner Warns Against City Diesel Bans

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Volkswagen Passat TDI Clean Diesel

Diesel has really become a dirty word lately, largely thanks to the uncovering of Volkswagen’s widespread emissions test cheating in its popular diesel vehicles, leading to large-scale investigations and many, many lawsuits.

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This is especially hard on the people of Europe, where diesel passenger cars are far more popular, and which also found that its vehicle emissions and mileage tests were woefully inadequate compared to real-world driving.

This also followed an especially bad year for air pollution, leading many cities to consider banning polluting diesel vehicles from within their bounds.

However, in a letter by EU Commissioner of Industry Elzbieta Bienkowska seen by Reuters, she warned the EU transport ministers that banning diesel vehicles outright is a bad idea, pointing out that simply destroying the diesel market would just hurt automakers’ ability to invest in zero-emission vehicles. In the short term, she argues, they should just focus on making automakers meet EU emissions regulations.

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More specifically, she wrote, “While I am convinced that we should rapidly head for zero-emission vehicles in Europe, policymakers and industry cannot have an interest in a rapid collapse of the diesel market in Europe as a result of local driving bans.”

She also expressed concern that the most recent cheating by Audi and Porsche was discovered by prosecutors, and not German authorities.

Analysts of these statements like Bernstein’s Max Warburton, point out that this may reflect the automotive industry lobbying points, which probably argued that diesel bans would “harm the industry’s earnings and employees, harm efforts to reduce carbon dioxide and harm owners of current vehicles.”

News Source: Reuters