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Emissions in the automotive sector

Exhaust pipe of a car

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Citizens recurrently turn to the Parliament to request information about the EU’s actions to fight against air pollution by emissions from motor vehicles. After the car emissions scandal in September 2015, citizens asked for stricter controls of emission measurements in the automotive sector.

Following the car emissions scandal in September 2015, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on emission measurements in the automotive sector, in which it ‘strongly condemns any fraud by automobile manufacturers and urges companies to take full responsibility for their actions and to cooperate fully with the authorities in any investigations’.

Parliament urged ‘full transparency on the part of the Commission and the Member States about their knowledge of these breaches and the actions they have taken to address them’ and called for a thorough investigation on that matter. Further information is available in the EP press release of 27 October 2015.

Committee of Inquiry

On 17 December 2015, the European Parliament decided to set up the Committee of Inquiry into Emission Measurements in the Automotive Sector, aimed to investigate alleged contraventions and maladministration in the application of Union law in relation to emission measurements in the automotive sector, without prejudice to the jurisdiction of national or Union courts.

The Committee of Inquiry shall present an interim report within six months and a final one within twelve months of starting its work. More information is also available in the EP press release on this subject.

Reform of the technical harmonisation legislation

Directive 2007/46/EC establishes a harmonised framework for the approval of motor vehicles and their trailers, and of systems, components and separate technical units intended for such vehicles, with a view to facilitating their registration, sale and entry into service.

The European Commission has reviewed this directive and tabled, in January 2016, a new proposal for a regulation.

This new proposal aims at:

  • reinforcing the independence and quality of testing that allows a car to be placed on the market;
  • introducing an effective market surveillance system to control the conformity of cars already in circulation;
  • reinforcing the type approval system with greater European oversight.

More information on this new legislative proposal is available in the European Commission’s press release and fact sheet of 27 January 2016.

In order to follow the latest steps of this legislative procedure, it is possible to consult the procedure file 2016/0014(COD) in the Parliament’s Legislative Observatory.

Car emissions rules reform

With regard to EU car emission rules, the Parliament’s Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) adopted, on 24 September 2015, its report on a proposal for a regulation related to the reduction of pollutant emissions from road vehicles, amending Regulation (EC) No 715/2007 and Regulation (EC) No 595/2009.

The European Parliament and the Council opened negotiations in order to reach an agreement in first reading. Further information is available in the Parliament’s press release of 24 September 2015 and in the procedure file 2014/0012(COD) in the Parliament’s Legislative Observatory. The webpage of the European Commission on the Emissions in the automotive sector may also be of interest.

Car emissions test update

In February 2016, the European Parliament decided not to veto a car emissions test update proposed by the European Commission, after the latter promised a review clause and tabled a long-term legislative proposal to revamp the EU car approval regime.

The European Commission, during the plenary session of 3 February 2016, referred to its official statement, in which it declares to be ‘fully committed to putting very robust emission-testing procedures in place, as of September 2017, to measure real driving emissions (RDE)’.

Further information

More details on this subject are available in the Parliament’s article ‘Car emissions: taking tests out of the lab and onto the road‘ and on the webpage ‘Motor vehicles: New approval and market surveillance rules‘, where the European Parliamentary Research Service keeps track of the legislative procedure 2016/0014(COD). The Commission’s webpages on climate action for road transport and transport & environment for road vehicles provide further information.

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The Citizens' Enquiries Unit provides information on the activities, powers and organisation of the European Parliament. You ask, we answer.


5 thoughts on “Emissions in the automotive sector

  1. Studies have shown that since to implement the Kyoto Protocol, there have been significant reductions in the emissions in the UK and US. This is to reduce the effects of global warming. The protocol was put in place to first acknowledge that global warming exists and that man’s CO2 emissions caused it. For this to have been successful, it was important for all governments accept not only responsibility but also ownership of the problem which was, and still is, global warming. The UK and the US seem to be heading in the right direction, and only time will tell whether it is in time to repair the damage that has been done. In order for a government to be successful, it is crucial that the individual is successful as the power of reducing emissions is in the hands of everyone.

    Source/More Info:

    Posted by Kyle | March 13, 2018, 19:24
    Would the current leaders of the European parliament watch this clip once. Just once please.

    Posted by Dileep | May 9, 2016, 11:42
  3. One sea container ship = 1/16 of the c02 pollution of all cars in the world combined, do something about it, only cars is not the answer.

    Posted by Edward Feldbrugge | April 21, 2016, 12:41


  1. Pingback: Cheating of vehicle emissions | European Parliamentary Research Service Blog - June 2, 2016

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