European Automakers Claimed To Use Testing Loopholes In Emissions Compliance

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon
european automakers claimed to use testing loopholes in emissions compliance

Though the European Environment Agency proclaimed new cars sold throughout the European Union in 2013 as being 4 percent cleaner than those sold in 2012, an environmentalist group says testing loopholes are the cause behind the results.

Reuters reports Transport and Environment are urging the European Commission to quickly introduce new testing procedures for ensuring automakers are actually meeting the 2021 mandate of 95 grams per kilometer of CO2, the toughest known emissions-control mandate issued in the world. The Commission claim the 2013 results of 127 g/km — made ahead of the 2015 mandate of 130 g/km — were the result of European automakers using loopholes — including grippy tires and test-facility grade smooth roads — to make the grade thus far.

T&E clean vehicles manager Greg Archer said the current tests for compliance were “obsolete” due to ease of manipulation, driving home the point that the 2021 mandate was “Europe’s single most effective policy to drive down CO2 emissions.”

As for the results themselves, the EEA state their findings as provisional, as inspectors have yet to survey individual automakers to determine if the latter party had met their individual goals for compliance.

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15 of 27 comments
  • Pch101 Pch101 on May 01, 2014

    Judging from some of the comments, there are some who are confused by this. CO2 emissions = fuel economy. CO2 emissions aren't smog, but a measure of the amount of fuel burned. (The only difference between CO2 and MPG is that CO2 accounts for the higher energy content of diesel and is adjusted accordingly.) What the article is saying is that the fuel economy tests in Europe are being gamed. If you compare European reported fuel economy with the EPA results for like cars, then it's easy to see how this would be the case -- the European results are invariably much more optimistic than the US tests.

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    • Pch101 Pch101 on May 02, 2014

      @raph In that regard, the European system is similar to the earlier version of CAFE. Turbos are certainly part of achieving the fleet averages.

  • Mik101 Mik101 on May 01, 2014

    Who at TTAC edited the article? I'm going to assume they meant low rolling resistance (aka LESS GRIPPY) tires. Sticky tires increase handling but lower fuel economy, and thus increase CO2 emissions.

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    • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on May 02, 2014

      Per the title, I was happy the European auto makers stepped up and told everyone they used the loopholes. But then I read the article. No editing.

  • Fabriced28 Fabriced28 on May 02, 2014

    What a surprise! The technocratic test is so far removed from reality that it only serves tax purposes. On low fuel consumption vehicles, the difference between the test and real life can go up to 100%. A car said to sip 3.3l for 100km can have a real fuel consumption from 4.5 to 6.7 (according to real users on That means the most economical driver can only get 30% worse than the technocratic test. I think it's just time to stop this nonsense completely. Fuel consumption has hardly moved in real life in the last ten years, while numbers from EU would make you believe that it dropped by half. Engineers have just centered their efforts on this because they have no choice but to dodge the system. Put all taxes on the fuel and we'll be back to a normal approach where everyone needs to reduce fuel consumption in real life: drivers and manufacturers.

  • RHD RHD on May 02, 2014

    Somewhat off topic, but did anyone else look at the picture of the Mercedes and think it looks more like a Hyundai, Toyota or next year's Lincoln sedan concept than a Mercedes?

    • Lorenzo Lorenzo on May 02, 2014

      That's Dieter's volume model, designed to look like a... volume model.