back to article Exposed Volkswagen 'n' pals get 2 more YEARS to sort out emissions

Despite the Volkswagen emissions cheating scandal and a pledge as far back as 2010, the European Commission will not impose real world emissions limits on car makers until 2017. The Commish has said for years that it wants to crack down on deadly nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, but the exposure by the US Environmental …

  1. CAPS LOCK

    Speaking as someone who breathes air, better air quality can't come too soon.

    A pox on VW, and probably the rest.

    1. JC_

      Re: Speaking as someone who breathes air, better air quality can't come too soon.

      7 downvotes? There are that many people who prefer to breathe dirty air and want to keep it that way?

      1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

        Re: Speaking as someone who breathes air, better air quality can't come too soon.

        Some people have a sense of perspective.

        1. JC_

          Re: Speaking as someone who breathes air, better air quality can't come too soon.

          The proper perspective is that VW lied and cheated and people have died as a result. Not even VW customers, but people who had no choice but to breathe the pollution of VW vehicles.

          Everyone knows about externalities, right?

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: Speaking as someone who breathes air, better air quality can't come too soon.

            That lovely nostalgic childhood memory - the smell of a covered bus station, or the smell of walking to the school entrance gates past a line of idling school buses. Or being on the car deck of a cross channel ferry.

            The lottery of what happens when those diesel exhaust particles passed into my respiratory system, might still be a time bomb.

            Amazing that I've lived this long.

            It would be interesting to see a health study that looked into the long term health of people that grew up on busy bus routes and heavy compared to those that spent their school years in quiet neighbourhoods.

          2. nijam Silver badge

            Re: Speaking as someone who breathes air, better air quality can't come too soon.

            The proper perspective is that the tests were stupid and meaningless.

          3. caradoc

            Re: Speaking as someone who breathes air, better air quality can't come too soon.

            "people have died as a result." You can prove that?

          4. Loud Speaker

            Re: Speaking as someone who breathes air, better air quality can't come too soon.

            people have died as a result.

            Maybe - but probably a lot fewer than have died from petrol powered Hummers.

            And it is not impossible that far more will die from vehicles which did pass the tests legitimately - Urea injection is another solution that only really works in lab tests - however, it is legal.

            This looks like a war between rival street gangs to me.

      2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Speaking as someone who breathes air, better air quality can't come too soon.

        There are that many people who prefer to breathe dirty air and want to keep it that way?

        Perhaps there are people who'd prefer to see the vast amounts of resources squandered on this particular bit of theater instead directed at bigger contributors to pollution, and/or see more sensible regulations on car exhaust that prioritize reductions based on their ecological utility rather than their political value.

    2. enormous c word

      Re: Speaking as someone who breathes air, better air quality can't come too soon.

      The whole emissions things is a nonsense. All the manufacturers cheat on their emissions and mpg ratings. They use rolling roads, tape up door seals, remove passenger side wing mirrors, run on a near empty tank with dangerously over-inflated tyres on deserted roads, driven by *specialist* drivers.

  2. theOtherJT

    What will those "Real world" tests be?

    and more importantly, who will be conducting them? Is this going to be more "Here you go regulatory body. We've tested our new cars and they're all jolly good! No need to check them yourselves!" like the current lot is?

    I'm certainly not opposed to stricter emissions rules - especially with regards to the kind of sooty crap that makes it so unpleasant to breathe in city traffic these days - but they are going to have to think quite carefully about how these tests are devised or they'll just end up being either more meaningless advertising numbers that don't relate to reality, or - possibly worse - political numbers that aren't POSSIBLE to relate to reality.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What will those "Real world" tests be?

      I don't think that's quite true.

      http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-15-5705_en.htm

      It seems in the EU that they don't just take the word of the manufacturer. That's not to say the tests are representative of how you or I drive but at least there is an attempt to check that the tests are done correctly.

      BTW I have owned three VAG cars over the last 15 years and I can beat the official mpg figures. I don't work for them, I haven't got shares in them and I've owned cars made by many different companies. It took me a while to work out how to do it and sometimes it's quite hard but in general I get a few mpg more than the figures suggest I should.... and no I don't tailgate to get a slip stream or any other stupidity.

  3. hatti

    Dodgy exhaust

    Sounds like there's some braun VW envelopes being trousered in the Commish

  4. Hellcat

    I wonder if they will accept us paying upto 60% less than what we agree to buy their cars for?

  5. chris 17 Silver badge

    The tests don't check for maximum emissions, they check for typical emissions which are very hard to test for as how do you define typical?

    My other half will easily get 65+MPG out of my car whilst i struggle to get in the 40's.

    will they test the car on a dry summers morning or wet winters evening?

    what if the climatic conditions are better when they test a BMW than a VW?

    what about traffic?

    so many variables to consider, that its fairer to establish laboratory parameters to test all cars equally against.

    Maybe they quote inside lab test results and outside test track results with environmental details (temp, humidity, pressure, time).

    whatever they come out with it'll be easy to rubbish testing criteria.

    1. Fred Dibnah
      Thumb Up

      Here's a plan!

      Do testing four times a year, and tell every manufacturer to provide every model at every test, otherwise they can't have them on the road. Test every vehicle on the same roads at the same time, making them take pole position in turn, like cyclists in a team time trial. Select drivers randomly, like with jury service, and swap drivers around during the test. Result: every vehicle gets tested in identical conditions.

      I'm being flippant but actually I am pretty pissed off about this.

      1. Captain Scarlet

        Re: Here's a plan!

        If I was ever to test it I would drive it like I stole it, I would probably have to apologise for the sudden appearance of empty fast food wrappers in the back though (Hay its for testing purposes)

        1. Fred Dibnah

          Re: Here's a plan!

          Maybe, but you would be driving a Ferrari one minute, then it's all change with the drivers and you're in a Skoda the next. The elderly gent who drives super-slowly would get the same drives, so it would average out in the end.

      2. JC_

        Re: Here's a plan!

        The technology is already available - and in use - for instant roadside testing of emissions. It combines with license plate recognition (and therefore car make, model & year) to give real-world statistics.

        This offers a simple solution: manufacturers vouch for their emissions levels and if they aren't met in real-world sampling then they pay a whopping fine per vehicle.

        It would also have the benefit of catching owners who re-program the ECU, modify the exhaust etc.

      3. Emperor Zarg
        Black Helicopters

        Re: Here's a plan!

        No, no, no. I'm amazed nobody has seen through the, er.. *cough*.. smoke-screen. This is all about data.

        All new cars, and certainly anything manufactured in the last 20 years, record oodles of data every time you drive. What I foresee happening is that you will be required to submit all of this data (or your car will rat on you do it for you automatically), so TPTB can see or calculate your actual emissions based on your real driving. Taxes can then be levied directly on actual emissions produced.

        (Note to all Governments and alien overlords: this taxation model is available for licensing at competitive rates, interested jurisdictions should contact me for details)

        Villainous types making use of personal motor vehicles in commission of their crimes can expect to receive an "environmental impact" tariff in addition to the usual sentencing.

    2. JC_

      @chris

      My other half will easily get 65+MPG out of my car whilst i struggle to get in the 40's.

      Speaking heuristically, it might be because you drive like a selfish prick and your other half doesn't.

      Or do you only drive when the boat is towed?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @chris

        I burn petrol for pleasure, if that makes me a 'selfish prick' then guilty as charged. There's a definite correlation between the rate at which you burn it and the size of your grin.

      2. chris 17 Silver badge

        Re: @chris

        @jc

        She varies between speed - 20% & speed largely depending on what the vehicle in front is doing and if she remembers that it's allowable to overtake cars on the dual or triple carriageways. Drives me nuts.

        How in the world is it being a selfish prick to drive safely up to the prevailing speed limit?

        If I'm concentrating enough to keep my speed up where appropriate surely those in the overtake lanes who subconsciously slow and then speed up and slow again are the selfish pricks for not getting out the way. I take it you are one of that self righteous klan who believes it's ok to drive endlessly in the overtake lanes & no one should ever over take you.

        1. Fraggle850

          Re: @chris

          Indeed, driving slower than the prevailing traffic is (or certainly used to be) a fail on the driving test. There are people out there who drive well below the speed limit in perfect driving conditions. Personally I'd ban 'em.

      3. TheVogon

        Re: @chris

        "Speaking heuristically, it might be because you drive like a selfish prick and your other half doesn't."

        So you are that twat that sits in the outside lane at 70.0 MPH with a long queue behind you?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      this is EXACTLEY why the tests are done in a lab, to try and mitigate any of the uncertain variables you'd get with real road testing. The tests aren't so much to give a "this is how much CO2, NO you're car will kick out on the road" but more so you can compare how much different cars kick out. If you did real World road testing you'll likely not be comparing like with like so the figures would be meaningless. Keep the current system and stick a * next to the figures explaining this isn't what you'll get on the road!

  6. Your alien overlord - fear me

    Any reason the "certain countries" include countries which seem to rely on car manufacturing as their chief exports?

  7. Wolfclaw

    EU Commis bottled it and snuggled up to big business, even if they are breaking rules or bending the truth. They should be demanding changes now !

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Do you really think the EU's going to play hardball with a German car manufacturer?

  8. Ilmarinen
    Joke

    "deadly nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions"

    Yes, we need a crackdown to stop these. The bodied of NOx Victims are already piling up in the streets and will soon cause traffic to grind to a halt.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      More and more cars on the road every year.

      China ramping up like crazy too.

      When we hit 7 billion cars running every day, we might appreciate some measure of emission control. The UK was far from that when Norway discovered the joys of acid rain (ok, it wasn't from cars, but still).

      Just sayin'

      1. arnieL
        Facepalm

        @Pascal Monet

        So cars are bad because of something that's nothing to do with them? Sounds logical to me!

        And 7 billion people will be driving? Really? Even on the most generous assumptions, only a small fraction of the earth's population have a need to drive each day. I know neither of my kids do, and neither does my mother or wife. So that's one out of 5. Numbers are looking better already!

        Probably best to stick to relevant, coherent arguments huh?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "deadly nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions"

      On the flip side, with fewer people in the world due to NOx emissions, there'll be proportionally fewer drivers.

      1. Medixstiff

        Re: "deadly nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions"

        "On the flip side, with fewer people in the world due to NOx emissions, there'll be proportionally fewer drivers."

        fewer pedestrians maybe, I'm guessing in a fully sealed car, you're less likely to be affected than Joe walking or cycling to work.

        1. Fraggle850

          Re: "deadly nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions"

          I seem to recall reading something ages ago that suggested that cars have a tendency to concentrate pollutants in the cabin. Assuming that this is correct then drivers are likely to be exposed to fairly high levels of pollution. Of course pedestrians, and to a greater extent cyclists, are involved in higher levels of cardiovascular exercise and so probably breathe in a greater volume but maybe at lower concentrations?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "deadly nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions"

          How long can you survive in a fully sealed car before suffocating?

          1. enormous c word

            Re: "deadly nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions"

            I heard a story that Landrover put a cat with ample food and water in an old Defender and closed all the windows and air vents to discover how well sealed it was by measuring the changed CO2 levels. The following morning, they discovered it had escaped ;-)

          2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: "deadly nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions"

            How long can you survive in a fully sealed car before suffocating?

            We begin by assuming a perfectly spherical car...

        3. nijam Silver badge

          Re: "deadly nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions"

          And I'm guessing in a fully sealed car you'll die of suffocation long before anyone exposed to your NOx output is harmed.

      2. annodomini2

        Re: "deadly nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions"

        "On the flip side, with fewer people in the world due to NOx emissions, there'll be proportionally fewer drivers."

        Stop stealing the Tories plan to resolve the benefits system.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "deadly nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions"

      VW's cheating "10x to 40x" NOx emissions during 2009-2015 are about the same as the previous generation of NOx limits x12, in place up to about 2008. There's nothing good about it, but some perspective is needed.

      The best way forward would be to gather up VW's fines and retrofit money, and then take a wider view and use that exact same money to maximum effectiveness to reduce the same NOx pollution in the same regions. Perhaps retrofitting city buses with emissions controls might be 100x more effective use of funds.

      I hope that humans can not miss what might be a unique opportunity on offer here. Narrow focus on VW vehicles might be the least effective approach.

      To be clear - exact same VW money. Just insert some larger 'project management' review and planning to maximize benefit.

  9. Trigonoceps occipitalis Silver badge

    Curious minds want to know

    Is it better to be a child in a VW with a smoker or to be a child standing outside the car?

  10. DavCrav

    Of course they are given time

    The limits the EU have been setting up until now are based on previous laboratory tests, in other words, if a lab test of a car in 1990 had a value of 100, the new limit for 1995 was 98, then 97, etc.. It is all relative. If the real-life numbers are way higher, you cannot suddenly say "get it down to the lab levels" because they weren't based in reality either.

    You can tell car manufacturers to make an engine that runs on rainbows, but it might not actually happen.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: Of course they are given time

      Indeed, if the real-world figures are even close to accurate, then demanding those limits in 2017 means no new cars in 2017.

      At all.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Get your priorities straight

    The damage Kathleen Van Brempt and her ilk have inflicted on society and the environment by moving the Euro's up and down to Strasbourg every two weeks far exceeds any damage Volkswagen can ever do by fiddling their Nox numbers

  12. <shakes head>

    how much NOx do bicycles produce

    the back road I use to get to the station has seen a huge increase in cycles on it, causing long lines of traffic stuck behind then at 10Mph followed by a massive acceleration to get around them till the next one. as one cyclist cause as all this acceleration and deceleration they are causing the NOx

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: how much NOx do bicycles produce

      None, in your example, it's the cars that similarly chose that back road that are producing it.

      You'd probably reduce NOx emissions quite a bit if people just plodded at a slow but steady 10MPH instead of oscillating between 0 and 200 between each set of traffic lights.

  13. Fraggle850

    Likewise speed bumps and buses

    1. enormous c word

      Case in point - my journey (by car) in to work used to take 15 - 20 mins at peak time. The put in 24 Hr Bus lanes and overnight - that journey transformed to 45 minutes. Bus lanes cause global worming.

      1. Toltec

        "Bus lanes cause global worming."

        That conjured an unpleasant mental vision!

  14. Frenchie Lad

    Quality of Commissioners

    With a commissioner such as Bienkowska its not surprising that that progress is wanting. Her track record in Poland ain't good but then she's a close friend of Tusk or at least so they say.

    If you want real progress then these appointments should be made on merit not on who you know.

  15. Sirius Lee

    Does it make you feel better?

    Really? "400 to 500 per cent higher" That would be "4 or 5 times higher". Shorter *and* easier to understand. Lookup Occam's razor.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Does it make you feel better?

      I was tempted to make a similar comment - but this has nothing to do with Occam's razor. It's purely a matter of style. Occam's razor (which, in its various formulations, is a naive intuition about the behavior of Bayesian probabilistic models) applies only to the propositional content of hypotheses, not to how they're phrased.

  16. caradoc

    "Under normal driving conditions, the cars emitted up to 35 times more nitrogen oxides than permitted. Yes, this is very bad, but not from a public health or environmental standpoint. The emissions at issue are quite trivial in scale. VW’s real crime is that it gained an unfair advantage over competitors who complied with the rules.

    That said, it is quite ironic that EPA is pointing the finger at VW for diesel emissions.

    The EPA has for years quietly conducted flagrantly illegal scientific experiments in which diesel exhaust was pumped into the lungs of sick people and senior citizens. As pictured nearby, EPA researchers pumped high levels of diesel exhaust from an idling truck into a gas chamber where an unwitting elderly and/or asthmatic victim sat for two hours inhaling it."

    http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/09/22/epas-own-diesel-crimes-worse-than-vws/

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rules already in place for failing emissions tests

    Having had vehicles tested for emissions I know that failing did not result in me having a couple years to fix things.

    Cars that fail emission tests cannot be driven and must be repaired BEFORE being allowed back on the road. Now that VW is being given more time than anyone of us would be given I suggest no emission standards should be the standard.

    We will save money, and our companies much better able to compete with developing nations who have already decided that emission standards are for foolish Westerners. The sooner we get to that bottom the faster we can return to dying like our competitors.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022