European Union states compromise on auto emissions tests

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Member states of the EU have now reached a compromise deal on the much debated new test procedures for new vehicles on Wednesday, delivering a blow to the green lobbyists even as the VW diesel cheating scandal rages on. The agreement, which has been fiercely debated, will allow vehicles to still emit more than two times the agreed pollution threshold after a proposal from the European Commission, the EU executive, was diluted by some of the 28 member states looking to protect their national car industries. According to EU sources that have knowledge of the vote and decided to protect their identity, the Netherlands was among the few countries that wanted the tougher rules to be enabled and it was alone in voting against the compromise it considered too thin. The European Commission had increased its pressure on the EU governments to come up with a deal as fast as possible and Germany was among the open supporters of the motor industry, saying “the diesel engine should be preserved as a powertrain option on the mass market.” The European Commission wanted “real-world” testing to become available from 2016 and only become mandatory following a two-year phase-in for new vehicles from 2017. In these real-world tests, the 80 milligram/kilometer limit could only be exceeded by 60 percent and then fall to 20 percent. Meanwhile, the compromise agreed upon will introduce a “conformity factor” of 2.1 from late 2017, while another two years later it would be reduced to 1.5 – which is still up 50 percent from the agreed limit. “Today’s decision on new car emission tests is contemptible,” commented a member of the European Parliament. Via Reuters