The VW “dieselgate” scandal continues to grow and we need to fully understand what are the similarities, differences and failings of the US and EU tests that should monitor emissions.
There’s one important aspect that is present both in the United States and in the European Union when it comes to auto emissions testing procedures – they have loopholes that carmakers have been exploiting for years. US emissions regulators were prompted that Volkswagen was rigging the diesel emissions test procedures by a team of researchers at a university. There is no equivocal proof that VW used the same software to evade tests done in Europe, they did admit that up to 11 million autos worldwide had the ability to do it – and EU authorities were baffled because they had no idea. Further on, while the US has just one authority enforcing all the emissions rules, the European Union has 28 of them. The executive European Commission in Brussels has no power to enforce the rules – even though they are the same throughout the European Union.
In the EU, unlike the United States, member states use third party private companies to carry the emission tests on new vehicle types, based on EU criteria. Such types of software used by the German automaker has been banned in Europe since 2007. But because carmakers can choose any country to have the tests conducted, there is a way of looping the administrative issues. “There are indications that there is some kind of shopping,” comments Johannes Kleis from the European consumer protection body BEUC. “Companies choose testing organizations which are more likely to be lenient.”