EU Nations Are Pushed for Feedback on Tougher Car-Emission Tests

  • European Commission asks governments for their views by Friday
  • Commission intends to put the matter to a vote on Oct. 28

The European Commission said it wants national governments in Europe to give feedback by Friday on a proposal for tougher car-pollution tests and to vote on Oct. 28 on any new inspection regime, which is being drawn up in the wake of Volkswagen AG’s diesel-engine deception.

Representatives of the commission, the 28-nation European Union’s executive arm, revealed the dates on Tuesday in Brussels during an exchange with European Parliament members who demanded details of the planned stricter testing system. Penciled in for September 2017, the new checks will gauge emissions of smog-causing nitrogen oxides under real driving conditions as well as in laboratories.

The commission officials declined to disclose further details of the proposal, citing confidential deliberations with EU governments that are responsible for deciding on the matter. The EU, where most cars are powered by diesel, wants new models to be tested on the road because of evidence that real-driving emissions are 400 percent to 500 percent higher than in labs.

“We want to act fast,” Gwen Cozigou, a director in the commission’s enterprise-policy department, told the members of the EU Parliament’s environment committee.

The revelation last month of Volkswagen’s deception, which involved fitting diesel engines with software to cheat U.S. checks on NOx emissions, has left Europe rushing to address weaknesses in its regulatory system.

As part of the plan to test actual driving emissions as of September 2017, the commission intends to phase in over two further years enforcement of the current legal limit on NOx of 80 milligrams a kilometer, an EU official familiar with the matter said last week. Between September 2017 and September 2019, real-driving emissions would be allowed under the commission proposal to exceed permissible discharges in laboratories by as much as 60 percent, according to the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

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