A rapidly enforced and too strict overhaul of EU emission testing procedures could increase the cost of diesel car manufacturing over acceptable levels and force car-makers to stop selling them, a trade association has warned.
According to the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) an overly rushed reaction to the Volkswagen emission rigging scandal by European legislators would not allow car-makers enough time to plan and implement changes.
"The automobile industry agrees with the need for emissions to more closely reflect real-world conditions, and has been calling for proposals for years," ACEA said in a statement.
"However, it is important to proceed in a way which allows manufacturers to plan and implement the necessary changes, without jeopardising the role of diesel as one of the key pillars for fulfilling future CO2 targets."
Although considered generally more polluting, especially when it comes to the amount of the particulate matter and nitrogen oxide emissions, diesel vehicles have been recommended in many European countries due to their lower production of carbon dioxide compared to cars with petrol engines.
In the wake of the revelations by the US Environmental Protection Agency last month that Europe’s largest car-maker Volkswagen cheated in US emission tests to pass legal limits for nitrogen oxide, the European Commission is expected to use the public antagonism to push car-makers to agree to deeper emission cuts.
European government officials met in Brussels last week in an attempt to unlock a stalemate over plans to introduce real-world measurements of NOx emissions rather than rely on easily manipulated lab tests.
Real-world NOx testing is due to begin early next year, with its results coming into play in late 2017.
"ACEA continues to stress the need for a timeline and testing conditions that take into account the technical and economic realities of today's markets, allowing for reasonable transition time to apply RDE (real driving emissions) to all new vehicles," ACEA said.
"Without realistic timeframes and conditions, some diesel models could effectively become unaffordable, forcing manufacturers to withdraw them from sale," hitting both consumers and jobs, ACEA said.
It has been said that actual nitrogen oxide emissions of Volkswagen’s diesel vehicles involved in the scandal could be up to 40 times higher than the US binding limit of 0,04 grams of nitrogen oxide emitted per kilometre. The current EU Euro 6 standard allows almost double the amount.
High concentrations of nitrogen oxide in the atmosphere have been associated with higher incidence of asthma and the development of other diseases of the respiratory system.