Image: © Will Rose / Greenpeace
New ‘real world’ emissions tests, prompted by the VW scandal, still fail to capture the actual impact diesel vehicles are having on air pollution in towns and cities, Greenpeace has suggested.
The environmental charity made the claim following independent testing of two new diesel vehicles on well-used London commuter routes during the morning and evening rush hours.
The results showed that both the new VW Golf and Vauxhall Insignia emitted more toxic nitrogen pollutants (NOx) than their own Real Driving Emissions (RDE), breaking the legal limit of 168mg/km.
In extreme cases, Greenpeace suggests NOx emissions on the most congested roads are up to 118% higher than levels detected in the official tests.
The stricter emissions testing, introduced earlier this month, sees new vehicles tested under both laboratory and open road conditions.
Greenpeace says its study shows that in stop-start traffic during rush hour, the two cars tested failed to meet the legal standard – pointing to potential flaws in the RDE test and loopholes that allow companies to test at any time of day, thereby avoiding rush hour altogether if they choose to.
Paul Morozzo, Greenpeace UK clean air campaigner, said: “The RDE tests should leave the auto industry no room to hide their cars’ real emissions but our investigation suggests this is not the case.
“These new tests are not ‘real’ enough to ensure the most polluting cars are kept off our roads. That car companies are allowed to avoid rush hour traffic when testing in urban areas is a major flaw.
“Instead of wasting more time and money hiding behind tests that still don’t reflect what’s happening in the real world, car companies should switch from diesel to electric and hybrid technology.
“Ministers cannot rest on their laurels either – these tests do not solve the problem of air pollution which makes a ban on new diesels long before 2040 even more crucial.”
Category: Vehicles & technology.