Real-world emissions tests ‘overlook rush hour traffic’

Real-world emissions tests ‘overlook rush hour traffic’
New so-called ‘real-word’ vehicle emissions tests for diesel cars are “not real enough” according to an environmental charity.

Having independently investigated the reliability of the new testing regime, brought in on September 1, Greenpeace claims the effect of diesel engines on air pollution is still being hugely understated.

In extreme cases, it claims NOx emissions on the most congested roads are up to 118% higher than levels detected in the official tests.

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Since the start of the month new models have been subject to stricter testing under both laboratory and open road conditions.

Greenpeace commissioned Emissions Analytics to test a Volkswagen Golf and a Vauxhall Insignia on commuter routes in and out of London during morning and evening rush hours.

It says the results show NOx emissions were up to 118% higher for the Golf and 42% higher for the Insignia than levels detected in official tests.

Paul Morozzo, a Greenpeace clean air campaigner, says car companies seem to be allowed to avoid rush hour traffic when testing in urban areas – something he describes as a “major flaw”.

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Mr Morozzo said: “The RDE (real driving emissions) 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. 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.”

The new official tests are part of European regulations designed to improve air quality and tackle climate change by giving more accurate measurements. The real-world driving requirement is designed to stop manufacturers cheating emissions tests, following a series of high-profile scandals over the last year years.

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