• Assembly says real-world emissions should heed limit in 2017
  • Parliament takes tougher stance than commission, EU nations

The European Parliament weighed into the controversy over Volkswagen AG’s deception on car pollution, saying a planned tougher testing regime in Europe should take full effect within two years.

The European Union assembly said autos’ real-world emissions of smog-causing nitrogen oxides should heed the EU limit by end-2017. That’s a tougher stance than many EU governments and the European Commission, the bloc’s regulatory arm, have taken as Europe prepares to gauge NOx pollution under real driving conditions as of September 2017 in response to evidence that discharges on the road are 400 percent to 500 percent higher than in laboratories.

The commission is proposing to let real-world NOx emissions exceed permissible discharges by as much as 60 percent for a further two years until September 2019, when the actual EU limit of 80 milligrams a kilometer would be enforced, according to two officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the deliberations are private. Many EU nations including Germany want more leeway for carmakers to overshoot the limit starting in September 2017, said one official.

‘Crucial Importance’

“The reliability and robustness of the test procedure for vehicles is of crucial importance for the attainment of the emission limits and thereby for the protection of public health and the environment in the EU,” the 28-nation Parliament said in a non-binding resolution approved on Tuesday in Strasbourg, France. The assembly said any overshoot of the EU limit on NOx in road tests should reflect “only the possible tolerances of the emissions measurement procedure in place by 2017.”

Europe is trying to balance consumer and producer interests a month after Germany-based Volkswagen admitted to having fitted diesel engines with software to cheat U.S. checks on NOx emissions. The company’s deception is potentially politically explosive in Europe because more than half the cars in the region are powered by diesel and many EU nations have struggled to meet clean-air goals meant to tackle human sicknesses and premature deaths.

National bureaucrats in the EU are due to vote on the commission proposal for road testing on Wednesday in Brussels. A rejection would push the plan up to ministerial level for a decision, making the issue more political. The EU Parliament will have a yes-or-no say on the matter at the end of the rule-making process.

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