12 Sep 2019, 14:11
Benjamin Wehrmann

Germany's environment agency says emissions of new diesel cars still too high

Clean Energy Wire

Nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions in relatively new diesel cars are still much higher than EU emissions limit values allow, and their carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are higher than previously thought, Germany's federal environment agency UBA has found. Together with five other European transport and environment authorities, the UBA tested diesel cars using the Euro 3 to Euro 6c EU emissions norm according to a new list of criteria based on the handbook on emission factors for road traffic (HBEFA), coming to the conclusion that emissions in real life driving situations were "multiple times" above those on the test stand and therefore clearly violated emissions limits. "Especially cars with Euro 5 standard, which were sold up until a few years ago, have very high NOx emissions in real life. We urgently need mechanical retrofitting with catalysers of these vehicles to protect the health of city dwellers," said UBA head Maria Krautzberger. Only cars rated with the Euro 6d emissions norm complied with limit values under real-life driving conditions, the UBA said. However, these account for only 5 percent of the diesel car fleet. CO2 emissions were also found to be much higher under the new HBEFA measuring, which, according to the UBA, is due to the average vehicle's constantly increasing size and engine performance. Real carbon emissions of diesel cars have only fallen by 8 percent for new passenger vehicles since 2000 and only by 2 percent for light utility vehicles since 2001.

The diesel emissions fraud scandal has been haunting carmakers in Germany and beyond since 2015, when it was revealed that millions of cars were equipped with defeat devices that manipulated emission levels on test stands. Several German cities have since been compelled to introduce partial driving bans for older diesel cars to comply with EU emission limit values. Germany's major carmakers have so far resisted calls for the retrofitting of manipulated cars with comprehensive hardware and instead stress their readiness to boost electric mobility.

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