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Modern diesels found to be over 12 times the legal NOx emissions limit

Published 12 March 2018

Real world tests for Euro6 diesels has uncovered shocking discrepancies, with new cars polluting 12 times above their legal NOx limit, according to research by Emissions Analytics.

Emissions Analytics has published its latest EQUA Index, which compares the real-world emissions of new cars with official European regulations - and it isn't good news. While some diesel cars emit less NOx in the real-world than the Euro6 regulatory standards, many are far exceeding the legal limits.

>> UK, Germany and France move closer to diesel bans

Indeed, in real-world-conditions, Emissions Analytics found that some Euro6 diesels exceed their European limits by as much as 12 times, with the worst offenders pumping out as much as 911 mg/km NOx gases. In comparison, the best models produced just 61 mg/km. 

NOx emissions - nitrogen oxides – is a poisonous gas that is linked to a wide range of human health problems, including cancer, heart attacks and asthma.

Manufacturers including SsangYong, Renault and Fiat are among the worst 10 offenders to exceed Euro6 emissions limits, with the 500X, Korando and Megane all being given a damning H rating, despite the fact that all models passed the European laboratory-based NEDC test.

The EQUA index rates vehicles from A+ to H, with H-classed cars being the worst polluting. Cars rated at G are roughly equal to 8-12 times the Euro6 limits while H is a whopping 12 times over the Euro6 limit for NOx emissions.

Meanwhile, local and national authorities are considering action to ban diesels. In Germany, a court ruled that cities that exceed air quality limits can ban older diesel cars without seeking authority from the national Government. In contrast, the UK’s High Court has ruled that the Government’s current air quality plan needs further improvement to meet legal requirements.

Manufacturer

Model

Transmission

Power Bhp

Engine Size CC

EQUA Aq

Fiat

500X

Manual

118

1598

H

Ssangyong

Korando

Manual

176

2157

H

Renault

Megane

Automatic

110

1461

H

Nissan

Juke

Manual

110

1461

H

Subaru

Forester

Automatic

145

2000

G

Infiniti

Q30

Manual

108

1461

G

Mercedes-Benz

CLA-Class

Automatic

136

2143

G

Renault

Megane

Automatic

110

1461

G

Renault

Megane

Manual

90

1461

G

BMW

2 Series

Automatic

116

1496

G

Comments

Engineer Andy    on 12 March 2018

What would've been very useful is for the list above to contain details about petrol-engined cars of similar performance to compare them (I'm coming at this as an woner of a petrol-engined car), to keep it fair.

It would also be useful for the information to include the levels of all pollutants, especially the regulated ones, including CO2, perhaps (as far as possible) with a rating (weighed) for each so that the worst polluting for health and the environment were given higher precedence.

Palcouk    on 12 March 2018

Emissions Analytics is from what I understand a subscription based service emissionsanalytics.com/

Nick Molden    on 12 March 2018

You can get all the ratings for free at www.equaindex.com

Arminius JP    on 12 March 2018

Thanks for posting Nick Molden - I see the information there helpfully includes CO2 and petrol models amongst other data.

Arminius JP    on 12 March 2018

So from show room price to scrap value in record time for all those supposedly EU6 compliant vehicles that the EQUA index shows are in truth heavy polluters?

mazdaben    on 12 March 2018

I bought my Megane thinking it would have a low impact on the environment (comparatively). Where do I stand with regards to the manufacturer now?

Phil Walters    on 14 March 2018

More sensational scare stories about NOX emissions do nothing to protect human life on our planet. Where does the Nitrogen (which is oxidized to produce NOX) come from? From the air of course. Why do modern diesel engines produce more NOX than older ones? Because the combustion temperature is greater. In order to obtain more useful power from a given fuel source, it is necessary to increase the combustion temperature. A modern diesel engine produces more NOX because it is BETTER at doing the job of being an engine.

Of course, the US producers of vehicles and fuels would like us to drive around in inefficient lumps of useless steel because they make more profit from it and will use any disinformation campaign to damage their more technologically advanced competitors. Does anyone really believe that a Jeep Cherokee is better for the planet than an Audi A3?

The only way to reduce pollution from vehicles is to use them less.

halcyon26    on 19 March 2018

Absolute spot on!

It seems to me that the regulators are making it up as they go, each time they change direction they seem to get it wrong. The EU rules are formulated by.............guess who?

Yep manufacturers and testers with a few research organisations, and the result is a pile of twaddle, the fuel tests for consumption being a class act example of official bollacks that misleads consumers, but ticks boxes for civil servants in Brussels who actually think they make a difference. (In a previous life I sat on BSI and ISO committees, not the most exciting or productive of experiences!

Classical    on 19 March 2018

Totally agree with your last sentence Phil but I'd also add another sentence: 'Another way to reduce pollution from vehicles is to buy them less frequently'. More pollution is produced during the manufacture of a new vehicle than it will produce from fuel combustion over it's average working life! But that's never mentioned due to massive vested interests and jobs.

DLDLDL    on 9 April 2018

It has been my supsicion for some time that if you take into account the pollution etc involved in maufacturing (and scrapping) a car (or central heating boiler etc), the "annualised whole life" pollution is such that it is environmentally irresponsible to scrap a "polluting car" part way through its life.

Anyone know any references taht would confirm (or debunk) what is a "suspicion"?

Phil Norton    on 19 March 2018

It would be good to rate vehicles for environmental and helth damage by toxicity of emissions, but it is also worth bearing in mind that CO2 is not a pollutant.

nigel52    on 19 March 2018

Firstly if one does an analysis of the www.equaindex.com figures it seems that the cleanest vehicles are large petrol and diesel engines Euro 6 where the manufacturers are not over tuning the engines. Look at the 2 and 3 litre modern BMW and Merc vehicles that are Euro 6 they get A* rating.

This goes to show that headlines we see are very mis-leading.

Aubrey Dhanraj    on 19 March 2018

What about vehicles that use adblue?

Robert McAuley    on 19 March 2018

The badge culture posters appear to be in denial!

zundapp    on 19 March 2018

I own a Euro 6 Ad Blue Tiguan diesel and although retired, still do 15,000m per year
This is my 5th diesel over the last 13 years.
I have always liked the power characteristics of VW diesels, especially mated to a DSG box with the higher power 2lt lumps.In fact, I might even buy another diesel

What really annoys me however about the diesel "debate" is that bus operators are still in my area running 53 reg sheds which pump out more Nox and black smoke in one journey than my car probably does in its lifetime.
Furthermore, every day in term time, up the road, outside my local primary school are mothers sitting in idling diesel (of various ages), waiting to pick up their little darlings.
Same applies to the 1400 pupil comprehensive further down the road and don't mention the taxi rank at nearby Crewe station !!.
I went to my local hairdressers for a cut the other day and outside was a gent reading a Kindle, sat in his 57 reg diesel Seat, with the engine idling. (Car parked back on to the entrance door)
.Apparently he was waiting for his wife and according to the staff does this every week!!

So, to sum up, I resent the way all diesels cars and their owners are being demonised by the Government.
Half the problem is inconsiderate owners, very old vehicles .


Oh and finally, we regularly go to France at least once every year and virtually every car is a diesel!!

nickyd    on 19 March 2018

How about a list that shows diesel vehicles which do have a much lower nitrogen oxide emissions level?

aethelwulf    on 19 March 2018

You are all missing the point. This debate is how to avoid doing anything serious to mess up motor manufacturing as an economic activity whilst shutting up the tree-huggers for a few years whilst some other lies are formulated.
The internal combustion engine is just too useful to replace in the short or medium term. Think in terms of the hard shoulder of the motorway festooned with charging points as electric cars chug 80 miles from one pint to teh next.I do not fancy that one bit. So buy a petrol car whilst you can and make it last.

Jackd    on 19 March 2018

You are all missing the point. This debate is how to avoid doing anything serious to mess up motor manufacturing as an economic activity whilst shutting up the tree-huggers for a few years whilst some other lies are formulated. The internal combustion engine is just too useful to replace in the short or medium term. Think in terms of the hard shoulder of the motorway festooned with charging points as electric cars chug 80 miles from one pint to teh next.I do not fancy that one bit. So buy a petrol car whilst you can and make it last.



You can't bracket all electric cars in one lump. The first generation electric cars only do 80 miles but new models coming out do much much more and a plug-in hybrid or range extender will go as far a diesel so it's great in the city and long distance. The technology is coming on leaps and bounds whereas diesels or petrols fuel economy has hardly improved over recent years.

Ken Forrest    on 19 March 2018

As I understand it, the RW Emissions Tests aren't really standardised. There are so many variables that they can't yet be trusted. However, there are companies who are trying to take an average of RW driving conditions and then use it digitally to mimic this in the Lab - or Rolling Road actually. Once this is reproduceable, we might see more realistic and fair results.
Meanwhile CO2 causes global warming and so petrol engines harm the environment, whereas diesels cause NOx, which harms people.
Manufacturers can't win while politicians keep moving the goalposts.

conman    on 4 April 2018

we have millions and millions of people but only one planet.

Johnd44    on 19 March 2018

I just looked at the full report and I do not understand some of the ratings.
I have a Citroen C4 Picasso with the 2.0 diesel 148 BHP EAT6 auto box and it has a worse rating than the Peugot 3008 with the same engine/gearbox set up.
Have I missed something?
Anyone with an idea would help!
John H.

   on 19 March 2018

What is going on with all the emissions, what is the truth???

volvo4nuts    on 25 March 2018

ok THE DIESELS ARE PURPORTED TO PUSH OUT ALL THE EMMISSION NASTIES HOW ABOUT THE PETROL PERHAPS IF THESE COMPLAINERS SMOKED LESS DID SOME EXERCISE AND HAD A SENSIBLE DIET .THEY WOULD BENEFIT BY IT

Nicholas Dixey    on 4 April 2018

Classical sees it right. The most economical and low-pollution car you can have is the one you've got. Modern cars with their galvanised bodies should go on for 20 years at least.
Now, if we took VAT off car spares the life of thousands of cars would be extended to the benefit of, er, everyone and everything except the car manufacturers. This would mean more jobs in car repair, to boot.
On a visit to our local scrapyard we saw a Yaris with 19,000 miles that had been sent there under a scrappage scheme. That's bad to the point of immorality.

Allen Schaeffer    on 4 April 2018

This one sentence in your story bears repeating:

While some diesel cars emit less NOx in the real-world than the Euro6 regulatory standards, many are far exceeding the legal limits.

SOME NOT ALL

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