Three years after Dieselgate, sobering news from Europe's roads

Three years after Dieselgate, sobering news from Europe's roads
By Stefan Grobe
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Diesel Summit in Brussels urges authorities to make tackling air pollution from dirty diesel vehicles a political priority


Three years after the Dieselgate scandal, carmakers have made minimal progress to clean up the millions of dirty cars in Europe.

Instead, they have poured money and resources into proving their technology is clean using new but still ineffective tests.

At the Diesel Summit in Brussels, city administrators, environmental groups and public health experts presented a sobering assessment of the situation on Europe's roads.

Experts estimate there are now 43 million grossly polluting diesel vehicles on the road compared to 29 million in 2015.

The conference highlighted solutions that already exist to put the legacy of Dieselgate to rest.

Connie Hedegaard, member of the Sustainability Council of Volkswagen and ex-EU Commissioner for Climate Action: "There is a chance that the car manufacturers get it, that we need to get more electrification and we need to speed up innovation there also because the whole traditional business model is changing from producing a car into delivering mobility."

The summit urged member states and the EU to coordinate the recall and fixing of vehicles on a European level, using independent real-world testing to verify emission performance.

Even current tests show that new cars pass standard tests, but emissions still increase massively when tested under real conditions.

City administrators who have had positive experiences with diesel bans und low-emission zones suggested going even further.

"Maybe we should think about taxing. We should bring the price into the product," says Victor Everhardt, Deputy Mayor of Utrecht in the Netherlands.

"And if you are making a polluting product, at the start or as an end product, we should put money to that, put tax to that. And the better product we could tax less. I think that's an instrument we can do at the city level".

As wealthy cities in the west are trying to get rid of Diesel cars, eastern cities are getting more and more of them.

The summit called upon legal authorities to prevent the sale of unfixed vehicles from west to east - or to Africa.

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