EU votes new rules on car testing to prevent more emissions scandals

EU votes new rules on car testing to prevent more emissions scandals
EU votes new rules on car testing to prevent more emissions scandals

New rules for car testing in Europe are now close to being agreed after MEPs voted yesterday in Brussels for strict, independent approval systems.

The rules – drafted in the wake of the scandal over Volkswagen’s diesel emissions cheating – give new powers for the authorities to check cars on the road and penalise carmakers.

The measures, voted by the European Parliament’s internal market committee (IMCO), mandate independent audits of national authorities to ensure emissions rules will be enforced properly. Carmakers who break the rules risk fines of up to €30,000 per vehicle.

More powers to the European Commission

British Conservative MEP Daniel Dalton, who drafted the new rules, said the vote showed the key to rebuilding consumer trust in vehicle testing “is more rigorous and systematic oversight at every stage.” His compromise did not advocate setting up a separate EU agency, as some MEPs wanted, but gives the European Commission more powers.

National authorities will also be required to check 20 per cent of new car models on the road to ensure they comply with standards. MEPs also provided for the introduction of a new online database of test results, accessible to third parties. A final vote on the oversight measures will by taken by the full European Parliament in April including whether to support an EU market surveillance agency

‘Dieselgate’ scandal shocked Europe

The so-called dieselgate scandal erupted in September 2015, when Volkswagen admitted it had installed ‘defeat devices’ on their diesel vehicles so they could cheat emissions tests.

The vote comes three days after Luxembourg filed a lawsuit for fraud against VW Group executives responsible for the dieselgate affair. And yesterday, it emerged that the Italian government allowed Fiat Chrysler cars to skip key tests for illegal engine software during Italy’s main emissions-cheating investigation in the wake of the VW scandal.

Last year, MEPs also set up a 12-month super-inquiry to probe carmakers and officials over the VW emissions scandal. While the German car giant reached a €13.2 billion settlement to compensate consumers in the US and clean up environmental damage, it is refusing to pay up in Europe.