April 7, 2017
The European Commission and most EU countries failed to prevent car manufacturers from cheating emissions test, according to the final report by Parliament's inquiry committee investigating the car emissions scandal. It was set up in December 2015, a few months after Volkswagen admitted to falsifying test results in their diesel cars. In the report adopted on April 4, MEPs propose a set of measures to prevent dishonest practices by car manufacturers in the future.
Volkswagen and other manufacturers used are believed to have used computer software called defeat devices to cheat the tests. They were able to identify when a car was being tested and temporarily limit its engine power and thus the amount of greenhouse gases produced. On the road the same car would emit up to 40 times more pollutants.
Discrepancies between real-life conditions and tests in the laboratory were not a secret, and the use of defeat devices had already been banned before the scandal, but the authorities involved, both at the national level and at EU level, neglected their responsibility to further investigate the issue.
Dutch ALDE member Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy, who was one of the authors of the final report, said: "The member states were very, very weak in their implementation of European law. They were more interested in focusing on the interest of national car industries than the interest of normal citizens and air quality."
In the adopted report MEPs propose that tests are carried out under varied real-life conditions and involve a random element to make cheating harder. They also want stricter European oversight of the car industry with clearly defined responsibilities. In addition the manufacturers at fault should reimburse consumers affected by the scandal.
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