95% of diesels exceed NOx limits

Which?, the journal of the UK Consumers’ Association (CA), reports that 95% of diesel cars it has tested recently, and 10% of petrol cars, emit more NOx than limits allow. The majority of petrol cars tested by the Consumers Association also failed to meet EU standards for emissions of carbon monoxide (CO).

The Association tests cars and other products in order to help its members with their purchasing decisions.

In the light of the VW emissions scandal, the CA revisited test data from over 300 cars they tested between 2012 and 2015. Under official test conditions, all the vehicles tested were certified as meeting the latest EU emissions standards. However, very few met these standards under the CA’s test conditions, which, the Association claims, are much closer to real-world driving conditions than are the official tests.

Key findings included:

  • 95% of diesel cars tested emitted more n (NOx) than official limits permit;
  • 10% of petrol cars emitted more NOx than limits allow and 65% emitted more CO2 than prescribed
  • Around 10% of vehicles tested were not even able to meet 1993 emissions standards.

The report lists nine diesel vehicles that were the worst offenders – these included Kyundai-Kia, Jeep, Land Rover, Nissan, Subaru and Volvo vehicles.

Petrol-engined vehicles that did not meet standards for NOx or CO included models from Alfa Romeo, BMW, Hyundai, Mercedes, Mini, Nissan, Porsche and Toyota/Lexus.

The CA has removed best-buy status from 23 Volkswagen Group cars as a consequence of the emissions scandal.

There is no suggestion that the latest findings stem from the use of defeat devices of the sort employed by VW. However, they demonstrate the widespread ‘gaming’ of emissions testing that occurs in the industry.

That car makers feel the need to engage in such activity provides further evidence of the competitive stress and strain in the auto industry – stress that is only likely to get worse if there is a slowdown in the global economy.

A full report can be found on the Which? website: www.which.co.uk

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