Compliance and enforcement

Compliance and enforcement

As vehicle emissions and efficiency regulations have become more stringent, the technologies used to mitigate emissions and reduce fuel consumption have become increasingly complex. A modern car or truck has a powerful computer under its hood and a small chemical plant, in effect, as part of its exhaust system, meaning there are many potential areas for system failure—or manipulation. All governments face significant challenges in ensuring that emissions and efficiency standards meant to protect public health and welfare are met in practice and not just in theory. Technology will continue to advance, and temptations to evade or subvert regulations will remain. An essential component of clean transportation policy, therefore, is effective measures to ensure that the intended outcomes from emissions-control and fuel-efficiency programs materialize, in fact, throughout the vehicle lifecycle.

Featured

About the program

As vehicle emissions and efficiency regulations have become more stringent, the technologies used to mitigate emissions and reduce fuel consumption have become increasingly complex. A modern car or truck has a powerful computer under its hood and a small chemical plant, in effect, as part of its exhaust system, meaning there are many potential areas for system failure—or manipulation. All governments face significant challenges in ensuring that emissions and efficiency standards meant to protect public health and welfare are met in practice and not just in theory. Technology will continue to advance, and temptations to evade or subvert regulations will remain. An essential component of clean transportation policy, therefore, is effective measures to ensure that the intended outcomes from emissions-control and fuel-efficiency programs materialize, in fact, throughout the vehicle lifecycle.

ICCT research and analyses have played crucial roles in illuminating the scale and scope of disparities between vehicle-efficiency targets or pollutant emissions standards and “real-world” achievement in everyday use. ICCT also provides data and expertise to efforts by government agencies and other stakeholders engaged in designing and operating programs to measure and track vehicle performance, spot problems such as systematically high-emitting vehicle models, and identify workable and effective resolutions that ensure that efficiency and pollution standards are met in practice as well as in theory.

In the aftermath of the Dieselgate scandal, government agencies across Europe began to systematically test diesel cars for their emission levels. For the Euro 6 vehicles tested, the average real-world level of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions was 4.5 times above the Euro 6 limit. Only 10% of Euro 6 cars outperformed the Euro 6 limit, while the rest of vehicles exceeded the Euro 6 standard by up to 12 times.

—See Road tested, September 2017

Recent publications

Transparency of data in the regulation of vehicle emissions in the European Union and United States

Legal brief summarizing public access to vehicle emissions data in the EU and US.

2017.09.05 | Consultant report
Road tested: Comparative overview of real-world versus type-approval NOX and CO2 emissions from diesel cars in Europe

Compares official laboratory-test and on-road nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions for 541 Euro 5 and Euro 6 diesel passenger cars, representing 145 of the most popular European models.

2017.09.03 | White paper
Market surveillance of vehicle emissions: Best-practice examples with respect to the European Commission's proposed type-approval framework regulation

Evaluates the European Commission’s version of the proposed EU new motor vehicle type-approval framework, where it relates to market surveillance activities, and proposes specific ways in which it could be strengthened.

2017.07.13 | Briefing
See all publications

Staff blog

Like magic! How to make high vehicle CO2 emissions simply disappear

On June 26, the BMVI finally published the CO2 measurement results we had been waiting for. But in the interim the Ministry re-tested 29 of the original vehicle models. Only a subset of those results, data on 19 out of the 29, was published and in many cases, the vehicles show lower CO2 emissions during the retest than according to their official type-approval value. Those are impressively good results—and strikingly different than the initial results from 2016.

Staff

Senior Fellow / Regional Co-Lead
Peter Mock
EU Managing Director / Regional Lead