According to the International Council on Clean Transportation, 77% of European diesel vehicles have unlawfully high emissions, possible proof that they are equipped with devices for cheating emission tests.
Official government tests totalling to 1,400 were used to collect data for the research. The tests were done in controlled settings. The findings of the study are as follows:
- For Euro 6 diesel-powered vehicles, 77% of the test results were suspicious and may indicate unlawful emission levels
- For Euro 5 vehicles, around 85% of the test results were suspicious
- Approximately 40% of the test results showed extreme levels of emissions, clear proof that the vehicles had defeat devices
The tested vehicles emitted high levels of nitrogen oxide or NOx, which is an indication that they used defeat devices. A defeat device is illegal as it allows diesel vehicles to temporarily switch on pollution controls during regulatory testing. So, when the device senses that the vehicle is about to be tested, it automatically reduces emissions to levels that are within legal limits.
This is only temporary, though, so when the vehicle is brought out of the lab for real-road driving, it releases massive amounts of NOx. Thus, vehicles with defeat devices are high pollutants.
The ICCT research revealed that there are currently 19 million diesel vehicles with suspicious levels of emissions and around 13 million with extreme levels of NOx emissions that are on UK and EU roads. It is proof that some carmakers continue to violate emissions regulations by selling vehicles with defeat devices. It’s been almost eight years since the 2015 Dieselgate scandal but carmakers are still cheating on their customers.
Furthermore, the ICCT said that over 200 diesel vehicle models from almost all carmakers were found to have exceeded the legal levels of NOx emissions.
Diesel emissions scandal
The Dieselgate diesel emissions scandal first broke out in September 2015 after the Volkswagen Group received a Notice of Violation from US authorities. They were charged with using defeat devices on VW and Audi diesel vehicles that were sold in the American automobile market.
Volkswagen admitted its mistake and followed orders to recall the hundreds of thousands of affected vehicles. The German carmaker also had to pay a fine. Over the years, they have spent millions paying off fees and compensation. Authorities have filed cases against several of VW’s high-ranking executives as well.
The VW Group recently settled an agreement with US authorities that had the carmaker pay about £2.39 billion (or $3 billion) to affected drivers.
Diesel vehicles used to be preferred by most car owners because they were supposedly more environment-friendly and emitted lower carbon dioxide (CO2) levels than their petrol-powered counterparts. Lower tax rates were also one of the major reasons for choosing diesel. The diesel emissions scandal, however, revealed how dangerous diesel vehicles are as they released excessive amounts of NOx.
Other carmakers that have been accused of benefitting from defeat devices include BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Renault, and Nissan. UK-based Vauxhall, Toyota, Peugeot, and Porsche have also been implicated in the scandal.
After the ICCT revealed their findings, environmental campaigners and law firms have been calling out carmakers that haven’t made significant improvements since the diesel emissions scandal. An environmental law charity has even filed complaints against the German, French, and UK governments about strengthening programs to stop incidents similar to the Dieselgate scandal.
Authorities believe that VW and all the carmakers involved in the scandal lied to and betrayed the trust of their customers. These manufacturers gave more importance to earning a profit than keeping their clients safe. Exposure to NOx emissions can lead to serious health impacts. NOx also damages vegetation and is an environmental threat.
What NOx can do to you
NOx is highly reactive and contains dangerous gases such as nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide or NO2. It plays a significant role in the formation of smog and acid rain. It’s also responsible for producing a vegetation-damaging pollutant called ground-level ozone.
The most devastating effects of NOx emissions, however, are on a person’s health. If you have been regularly exposed to nitrogen oxide emissions, you can suffer from various health conditions for the rest of your life.
Your mental health can be affected, and you’ll have frequent episodes of depression and anxiety. NOx can also weaken your cognitive health, which increases your risk of developing dementia.
You may also be hounded by these health conditions:
- Pulmonary oedema
- Cardiovascular diseases
Additionally, premature deaths linked to air pollution and exposure to NOx emissions have increased steadily over the years. Air pollution has become as dangerous as HIV and AIDS, cigarette smoking, and alcohol and drug addiction.
These impacts are the reason why authorities constantly urge affected drivers to bring their car manufacturers to court. A diesel claim will allow you to hold your carmaker responsible for all the troubles and inconveniences you have had to go through. If you win the case, you will receive compensation from your carmaker.
Am I eligible for my diesel claim?
To ensure that you are eligible to file a claim, visit Emissions.co.uk to get all the information you need. Once you’ve verified that you can claim compensation, find an emissions expert to help you with your emission claim.