Press Releases

VDA: There are more intelligent measures for better air quality than driving bans

Berlin, 22 February 2017

Particulates not a problem with diesels – “political overreaction” without scientific basis

“To improve the air quality in towns and cities, there are more intelligent and faster-acting measures than restricting a large proportion of diesel passenger cars on the roads, either temporarily or permanently. The options include improving the traffic flow and avoiding congestion. Such measures can be implemented quickly – with significant effects: the ‘green wave’ and a smooth flow of traffic reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides by almost one third. In addition, buses and taxis in urban areas should be replaced with the most modern vehicles,” stressed the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA).

“The term ‘fine dust alarm’ used in Stuttgart is an overreaction by politicians that has no scientific basis whatsoever. The proportion of particulate (‘fine dust’) emissions caused by passenger car exhaust is negligible. According to the Federal Environment Agency (UBA), in Stuttgart the particulate emissions from vehicle engines actually account for only 4 percent of the total. Given that this is the German state where the most advanced diesel engines in the world are built, one would expect that those with political responsibility understand the industrial basis for prosperity and employment.

As modern Euro 6 vehicles penetrate the market, roadside pollutant emissions decrease even without political intervention. Much lower NOx emissions – not only in the laboratory, but also on the road – are associated with the coming RDE standard.

Furthermore, digitization will result in considerable improvements in air quality. For example, connected driving in Germany could avoid 20 percent of traffic congestion. In urban areas digitization could bring even greater reductions in driving while looking for a parking spot.

It would also be absolutely the wrong climate-policy approach to call diesels fundamentally into question, as some lobbyists are trying to do. Diesels are much more CO2-efficient than gasoline-powered vehicles and are therefore necessary for achieving the climate protection targets. Moreover, one should differentiate because diesel engines are already as good as or better than gasoline engines on many pollutant emissions. This applies to particulates, hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide. This means that three out of four pollutant issues surrounding diesels have already been resolved and no longer have any influence on air quality.

The total passenger car fleet in Germany comes to 45 million vehicles. One third of them (14.5 million) are diesel cars. Today, around one in ten diesel passenger cars on the roads is a Euro 6 vehicle. For effective improvement of the air quality in towns and cities, it will therefore be important to have the right mix of modern exhaust aftertreatment, rapid fleet replacement and traffic-related measures.

Restricting the use of certain diesel vehicles would hamper commerce and many SMEs just as it would inconvenience many motorists who have only recently purchased a diesel model that satisfied the latest Euro standard at the time.”

Eckehart Rotter
Eckehart Rotter Speaker

Tel: +49 30 897842-128 Fax: +49 30 897842-603
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