Question for oral answer to the Commission Rule 128 Giovanni La Via, on behalf of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Vicky Ford, on behalf of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Jerzy Buzek, on behalf of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy Michael Cramer, on behalf of the Committee on Transport and Tourism
Subject: Emissions measurements in the automotive sector
On 18 September 2015 the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a notice of violation of emissions limits against Volkswagen. The EPA and the Californian Air Resources Board assessed a variety of models of diesel car produced by Volkswagen and gathered evidence that the vehicles on the road emitted up to 40 times more pollution than emissions standards allow. Volkswagen has subsequently admitted to having fixed the tests for diesel emissions levels in the United States market through the systematic use of ‘defeat devices’ that cheat the emissions test for nitrogen oxides (NOx) and are explicitly prohibited under Regulation (EC) No 715/2007.
In view of the importance of protecting citizens, their health and air quality, together with consumer trust and confidence in the standards and type-approval mechanism used in Europe, it is essential that information be provided in order to assess whether European testing regimes have also been adversely affected by such manipulation.
– How will the Commission thoroughly investigate any potential manipulation – of the type discovered in the United States – of the approval process in respect of emissions limits by Volkswagen and other car manufacturers, whether for diesel- or petrol-powered vehicles?
– National type-approval authorities have been slow to discover these misleading practices, which may go back many years. What role has the Commission played so far? How can the independence and accountability of national type-approval and testing authorities be ensured?
– Are polluting emissions other than NOx, or even greenhouse gas emissions (CO2), also involved?
– What steps will the Commission take to improve and harmonise emissions testing, so as to better reflect real-world use of motor vehicles after the introduction of the real-driving emissions tests? Will this testing methodology be implemented by 2017, with a conformity factor of 1 and on the basis of random-cycle testing?
– Is the Commission taking immediate action to prevent similar situations? Is further action needed to improve the implementation and enforcement of EU legislation and to eliminate loopholes?
– What measures does the Commission envisage taking to strengthen the implementation of the EU strategy for a sustainable, resource-efficient transport system for road and other modes of transport?
– How does the Commission intend to keep Parliament informed of its investigation?