The diesel wars – manufacturers request clear regulations from EU

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Major European cities are succumbing to pollution and the EU found the scapegoat in the growing number of diesel engines in passenger cars. 

The European Government is planning new regulations regarding emission tests for upcoming diesel models, but the automakers say it’s impossible to act based solely on a draft.

The main talking point at this time is linked to the emission testing procedure which, the regulators say, should be moved from enclosed laboratories to the “real world” conditions of the open road.

According to ACEA – European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association – these new regulations put a lot of stress on the manufacturers, who will have to make serious changes in the way they test their cars and develop new models based on an incomplete document.

To quote an ACEA spokesman, “the industry is being asked to design today for requirements that will only be known next year”.

In return, ACEA is asking the EU for a complete proposal no later than July, which should include  a comprehensive set of requirements, specified performance limits and dates of application for the regulation because the September 2017 start date is not yet confirmed by EU law.

Currently, diesel cars account for roughly half the total number of new cars sold in Europe, and their number isn’t showing signs of a decline. The better fuel economy of diesel engines means they emit less CO2 than petrol engines, but their exhaust gases are a lot more richer in nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter.

Some European cities are thinking up plans to limit or ban diesel cars from congested urban areas with Paris leading the way, setting 2020 as the target year for a diesel-free traffic.

Now, if you’re a diesel owner, it’s easy to feel a bit cheated. Here you are, having spent more money on a car that was presented as being greener, more environmentally friendly, that you are now forbidden to drive through the city. If that makes you a bit mad, don’t worry, there’s nothing wrong with you. But, at the same time, if that eventually turns out to make you healthier and less likely to develop a lung disease, than… it’s probably worth it. And, anyway, you can always go out and get yourself a real petrol sports car, if they insist.