Clean air: Commission improves car emissions tests further

Member States meeting in the Technical Committee of Motor Vehicles (TCMV) have agreed on the Commission’s latest proposal to strengthen car emissions testing. New and improved car emissions testsbecame mandatory on 1 September 2017: tests in real driving conditions (“Real Driving Emissions” – RDE) and an improved laboratory test (“World Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure” – WLTP). 

Now the Commission has finished its technical follow-up to improve these tests further. Commissioner for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs Elżbieta Bieńkowska said: “By continuously tightening the screws on the way emissions tests are conducted, we aim to better protect our health and environment, restore consumer confidence, and add yet another incentive for a quick shift to zero emissions vehicles.” The proposal reduces margins of technical uncertainty in RDE testing, increases emissions checks of cars already in circulation and testing by independent and accredited third parties. It also improves the WLTP procedure by eliminating test flexibilities and introduces on-board fuel and energy consumption monitoring devices, thereby allowing for the first time to compare laboratory results for CO2 emissions with the average real driving situation. Following the positive vote in comitology, the proposal will be transmitted to the European Parliament and Council for a three-month scrutiny period. It will then be adopted by the Commission and published in the EU Official Journal, and would apply from 1 January 2019. More information is available in the FAQs. Continuously improved emissions tests are one of the many Commission initiatives for a clean, sustainable and competitive car industry, including the Commission proposal for a fully overhauled type approval framework recently approved by the European Parliament and expected to be adopted by Council in the coming weeks (see new FAQs on reform points).