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.

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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

The role of standards in reducing CO2 emissions of passenger cars in the EU

Effectively enforced vehicle CO2 performance standards are at the core of any effort to realize lower-carbon transport. EU member states should implement supporting policy measures such as emissions-based vehicle taxes, mandates for electric vehicles, and emissions-based road pricing.

2018.02.12 | Briefing
Real-world emissions in China: A meta-study of PEMS data

Collects and analyzes real-world emissions data from multiple sources in China. The data include emissions of NOx, CO, and total hydrocarbons. from 55 LDVs and 67 HDVs tested using PEMS. The vehicle sample covers a wide range of emissions standards, from China 0 to China 5/V, and vehicle types. 

2018.02.12 | White paper
Remote sensing of motor vehicle exhaust emissions

A comprehensive overview of vehicle remote sensing, an emissions measurement technique which has been used for more than 25 years to evaluate emissions from passing motor vehicles in real-world driving. Reviews technical details of the vehicle remote sensing test method, describes the multiple types of emissions analyses that can be conducted with remote sensing data, and explores areas where remote sensing can supplement emission test methods currently used in the European Union light-duty vehicle regulatory program.

2018.02.01 | White paper
See all publications

Staff blog

U.S. and Canada: On vehicle emissions compliance and enforcement, two feds are better than one

As both U.S. and Canada work to improve their C&E programs, we applaud their team effort to tackle air quality challenges, encourage them to continue to strengthen this partnership, and hope to see more such regional collaborations around the globe whenever the circumstances allow. Because when it comes to emission control in the highly integrated North American vehicle market, two feds are better than one.

Staff

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