/ Motoring

Major car makers respond to our Fuel Claims campaign

Car and magnifying glass

Alongside more than 55,000 supporters, we’ve been putting pressure on the car industry to tell us whether they manipulate fuel tests. 17 car makers have responded…

In the aftermath of the VW emissions scandal, we asked all the major car brands whether their vehicle testing methods were misleading consumers. That deadline has passed, and of the 17 who have responded, 16 have said they don’t manipulate emissions and fuel economy tests.

You can read all the car maker responses here, but if you want the gist of it, Renault, PSA Peugeot Citroen, Nissan, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia, Mazda, Volvo, Vauxhall, Honda, BMW, Ford, Toyota, Suzuki, Daimler (Mercedez-Benz) and Mitsubishi have all explicitly denied manipulating tests. Fiat Chrysler has responded but hasn’t confirmed or denied manipulating tests. And we’re still waiting on Subaru.

Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda and Seat owners

If you own one of the affected Volkwagen, Audi, Skoda or Seat brand cars (there are 1,189,906 in the UK), I have a few updates for you.

The German government gave VW a deadline of tonight to submit a plan on how it’ll ensure affected cars are compliant with the law. And today VW said that a recall should start from January 2016.

The Government has confirmed that affected motorists will not have to pay more car tax even though they may be producing more pollution. And if car owners don’t get their vehicles fixed it won’t be illegal and you won’t be fined but, according to the Department for Transport, ‘it is in their best interest’.

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin has also said the Government is ‘taking robust action’:

‘The Vehicle Certification Agency, the UK regulator, is working with vehicle manufacturers to ensure that this issue is not industry wide. As part of this work they will re-run laboratory tests where necessary and compare them against real-world driving emissions.’

We now want the Government to immediately publish a timetable for a genuinely independent investigation and ensure anyone who’s affected can get easy access to redress.

Fuel tests you can trust

There are still issues around the effectiveness of testing.

Currently cars are tested using the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC), which was first introduced in the 1970s. The test lacks real-world driving scenarios and there are numerous loopholes which make the miles per gallon figures unrealstic when you actually get behind the wheel of a car. You can read more about these loopholes here.

The European Commission is planning to implement the Real Driving Emissions (RDE) procedure, where new cars will have to be tested not only in the laboratory but also on the road. The Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) will also bring a number of much-needed improvements. That’s why we want the European Commission to announce how it will bring forward these new tests by the end of the year.

When we asked, several car makers also stated their support for the introduction of new tests that reflect real-world driving conditions, including PSA Peugeot Citreon, Renault, Daimler (Mercedes-Benz) and BMW.

Do you want to see these new more realistic tests brought forward? And what do you think about the car makers’ responses?


Hmmm. I wonder how many of these manufacturers would be happy to hand over the testing of their vehicles to an independent test laboratory, so that no-one can doubt the veracity of the claims.

It is excellent to see some positive comments about introduction of the new Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure. Let’s hope that the same companies do not come up with reasons to push for delays.

Though I certainly don’t condone what the VW Group has done, at least it has raised world awareness of the pollution issue.

You know self regulation is the worst thing in the world to allow. Example the Banks. Now they are going to let the fracking industry self regulate God knows how much pollution and environmental damage more we have to come the whole world is only interested in money making no matter who or what suffers

james says:
9 October 2015

I agreed with every thing you say Jim

Ive just been watching a BBC presenter say that VW will be in touch with all effected owners very soon and he added whilst holding what appeared to be a hand held fault reader that it may be possible the garage wont even have to open the bonnet. Just plug an item like this into the car and an hour or maybe a day later the system will be sorted.
We could reboot an A380 faster than that
I dont know where he has got his info but it seems very far from reality not just my view but the view of VWs new Chairman who has clearly stated that VW need time before VW could uncover the emission test cheat
My oh my. Are we expected to believe that we dont know that Bosch wrote them a letter telling them not to use software Bosch supplied therefore why would VW have to look for the cheat.
I suspect the cheats in this case can all walk and talk and there are rather a lot of them running around looking for fall guys no doubt.
Earlier VW said it expected to start a recall of cars in January. Oct, Nov, Dec are we off on holidays?
VW said all effected cars are expected to be repaired by the end of 2016
Now I hate to be ever the pessimist.
If Bosch gave them the cheat software then there should be clean software
If they were using another cheat so Bosch wouldnt know either then someone in VW should know
If the mask as I’d like to call cant be found then why not go up the road to a local re-mapper they seem to have no trouble getting these systems to do as they please.
Maybe I’m rambling but whatever is going on there is considerable pressure building and along with that there is often an explosion at some point.
These are stalling tactics I think and if i am correct and I’m not alone this has got quite a course to run if in fact the wheels dont fall of the thing altogether.
Lets hope there is a good conclusion for the VW customers but I wouldnt hold my breath??

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If you replaced an A380’s engine control software wouldn’t it need to re-test for its air-worthiness certification? Possibly partial re-test? Or would test runs under lab conditions at RR Derby suffice?
Wouldn’t Airbus have an input?
Just asking!

If VW supply the software then VW have tested and tried the software. I’m not quite sure what you are actually asking/suggesting

It will be interesting to see how performance is affected by any updates to meet the emission specifications. Zero to sixty in just 20 seconds instead of the current 10 seconds perhaps. That would make a lot of owners very happy that they are doing their bit for the environment. (Not).

Robert says:
8 October 2015

I disagree that there is considerable pressure building, the contempt that these manufacturers are showing to ALL governments by procrastinating or pis **ng about can easily be sorted, as they have admitted worldwide fraudulent activities ARREST ALL SENIOR EXECUTIVES from every country immediately and let’s see how long they take to produce the guilty.
When have corporations become so untouchable that they can ignore and usurp the rule of law with impunity, these people have to be used as an example DON’T DO THE CRIME IF YOU CAN’T DO THE TIME and sequester all their I’ll gotten gains. They are no better than COMMON criminals

Can we include politicians please

james dobbin says:
9 October 2015

also whats to say Bosch didn’t give the cheat to other manufacturers?? as my local Audi garage mentioned to me when i asked the question of my car being affected

Of course they will say that your Audi Garage is doing what they all do. Shift the attention elsewhere.
VW Group are german, Bosch are german and germany is as tight as stick together business community as is in EU. Pity we didnt do more of the same!!!
There are several main Common rail manufacturers in europe.
The VW group in question. Merc. PSA, Ford, GM, LR/Jag and Fiat Group

Vw are in the **** and as a group due to keeping everything close to home they will probably be the biggest cheats even if others appear.
Merc I think were on the no cheat list also so that kinda shortens the possibility of another Bosch cheat system as agin they are german.
PSA are no cheat
Ford are no cheat
GM are no cheat
LR/Jag are no cheat
And I think all the J*p names are no cheat also.
The one missing last time I looked is the biggest diesel engine manufacture of all Fiat/Iveco group and I hope they havn’t been at it.
But several/near all of their customers (who will spec their own fuel systems) are on the list of not cheating so even if Fiat Group themselves have been at it their numbers will not hold a candle to VW group.
They probably would not have Bosch favour anyhow as they were the original modern ECU type common rail dudes. There is a long quiet disgust there at selling the design to Bosch as it turned out to be such a winner as an idea. Alfa 156 was the first ECU common rail car with Merc 2nd not long after if I remember correctly, certainly Alfa was first out of the blocks on that one
Many of Fiat engine customers also have Bosch though but as above near all have said no cheat.

Hi DeeKay,
I agree with everything you have said.
I would also like to add that politics has a massive part to play in all of this.
Get the issue raised, let the CEO resign, make the general public believe the all parties concerned are taking it all very seriously, b******t.
The German Chancellor will have struck a deal with all of affected Countries Leaders not to bring VW to its knees in much the same way our ineffectual Government dealt with the banking crisis that regular people like me are still paying for.

Bosch in my opinion have also been a third party to deception, they should have sent a copy of the mail to the heads of transport in all the countries these rigged cars were being sold in.

You might just as well put all the benefit cheats in charge of uncovering how and who did what, they will soon find a solution.

Yes politics is playing a role and She’ll be flying around all pubis about the porr syrian refugees and behone door the biggest watergate that ever happened will be taking place.
Problem is that not everyone goes for cospiracy theory fact or not and not everyone cares whic makes it worse.
Just watch this spot though, a fairy may just come along and explain a few things.

The sooner the WLTP test is introduced the better, and NEDC confined to the dustbin. However it must be a properly written standard this time with strict conditions.
I would like confirmation that laboratories used are properly accredited and routinely audited. I would also like to be sure they are overseen by an independent expert, and that interchange tests between quite separate laboratories are carried out from time to time to ensure comparability of results.
The Real Driving Emission test (RDE) – measuring emissions on a test driven randomly on real roads – has been on the books since 2010. I hope by now the EU has knocked it into shape; they’ve had enough time. Initially it will measure NOx, and, later, particle count. It is due to be introduced in Jan 2016 but only in an informative role initially. It will not contribute to compliance certification until “not to exceed” NOx limits have been established.
As far as “companies pushing for delays”, in the light of the poor NEDC test regime I would prefer the test to be watertight and not introduced in a panic on the back of VW’s crime. I think the EU has had enough time to do this – but politicians sense of urgency seems different from mine, unless a war is involved (maybe not even then).

Politicians are motivated by usually a 5 year cycle and are lobbied and spoiled in the process.
Will someone actually dare ask.
What about the countless people who suffer terrible health because of this?
What about the countless people who are now not around because of this? What of their families?
This is a cold hard fact
For many years we debated about diesel and emissions and near everyone could hide behind a “we didnt know” curtain.
There is no we didn’t know, we weren’t aware, no evidence curtain now and has not been for many years.
Like Tobacco there are those die hard’s who will ramble along in defence of the indefensible but I dont pay them much attention.
VW had no curtain to hide behind
VW group have lied and cheated their way to making a load of money in the full knowledge of hurting peoples health here and elsewhere.
This is “not cricket” would be to a ice way to put it. I can think of other much more to the point words that fit the bill even better.
Has anyone the same view now I have put my head on the block and came out with it???
Will anyone tackle this question
Will the new VW Chairman tell us what they really have done.
Can he bring himself from his chair on high will he stand up and at the very least say sorry to the 1000s of people who this has effected.
I know there is no way of proving that VW is directly linked to this or that individual persons problem but related to many they most certainly are.
Since this started in my minds eye they are moving ever closer to the same box as JTI and BAT etc.

At present only VW have admitted to cheating, so are unlikely to have endangered many lives.

If we were really committed to improving air quality we would be campaigning to ban cars in towns and cities, together with lorries vans and other polluters. We would also ban large engined vehicles.

But we don’t. So what do we really want?

We should go the same way as Zermatt, perhaps. If towns and cities mandated the exclusion of all fossil fuel-derivative vehicles within five years it would instantly concentrate the minds of the big diesel-engine producers. Who will have that courage, I wonder?

Malcolm – I’m not sure I’m up to campaigning, but I would certainly support campaigns to improve air quality. I chose my present car on the basis of fuel economy and the fact that it would not belch soot like earlier diesels; little did I know that I would be polluting the atmosphere with nitrogen oxides. 🙁 I trust your new car will have a small engine and low emissions.

We can do a lot as individuals. When visiting the nearest town – about once a week – I park on the outskirts and walk into town. Apart from the environmental benefits it gives me exercise and saves substantial parking charges and the risk of overstaying charges. When I visit cities I usually use the park and ride schemes or go by train. Whenever possible I do car sharing. My most common reason for driving into the nearest city is to collect and deliver people from the station.

I understand Bosch supplied the software they should be forced to say who they supplied them we will know the guiltily psrties

We already know they supplied it to VW group but it seems that they also supplied what i would call a get out clause letter advising VW not to use it at or around the same time?????

shaun says:
8 October 2015

How do we get goods to and from the shops in the towns and cities…horse and cart?
I for one want people to be realistic in their approach and expectations, deal with what we have now,improve if possible and make sure replacements are kinder to the environment.
Every little bit helps 🙂

Indeed you have a real problem pointed out but one I recognise.
Strangely it may surprise you that Gov Depts were aware many years ago that a city with around 1m or more population is not sustainable without electric and is not sustainable without a powered transport network.
In other words a horse and cart wont work and if you heard their proposals it is obvious they dont intend to anywhere near there if that time comes.
I know you read extreme/one way loaded views here but its not easy being everything to everyone.
Haulage today is mostly by lorries (trucks to some) and the big towns and cities would be lost without them
I have Pointed out in other posts that the smaller the machine such as cars the bigger the problem of being cleaner.
Larger vehicles dont have as much problem fitting within the guidelines as the extra equipment required fits in easily.
ie Adblue does a reasonable job with NOX . Adblue has no problem fitting on a truck and truck operators/drivers at quite okay with buying and refilling the stuff,
Many car drivers can manage to top up the oil, right up to in runs over!. The engine wont start. Engine coolant header tanks regularly get filled with screen wash and even oil. Even engines have been filled with coolant. Mechanics have seen most of these things. Manufacturers know all too well about these “little mistakes” we’ll call them. Putting Adblue in a car is just another thing to mix up.
I kinda got off topic with that.
Yes, Electric vehicles are a good idea but only if the power to charge them comes from clean energy.
No point in running a big oil or gas boiler generating station to simply move the problem up the road.
That is why I keep going back to how do we generate the electricity for an increase in such vehicles so shaun I am all with you with what is available now rather than all kinds of wonder dust tech that is 50yrs down the line or more like never
One of the problems that people wont confront is the need to move as I call it “sideways” instead of just going straight ahead.
The age of oil is closing not because of it being scarce and not because of the environment alone but there actually is not enough air to burn the stuff if the place will support growth of food to that point.
Straight ahead cannot continue otherwise we’ll just come up against a wall or kill ourselves either way if we dont move sideways our children and grandchildren will be left to pick up the pieces when its too late. There are other Topics here on Which in which some people are discussing finances and inheritance tax etc.
What’s the point if the same generation has everything used it all up even before the grandchildren get it
Electric lorries are not really a reality and I could be wrong but I dont see this being a go in the foreseeable future
Given that although many here see diesel as a the big baddy they see lorries and buses in the same manner.
At present I see no option but to keep lorries and buses and the likely hood of running either or any of them of gas is next to zero. I have personal experience of such vehicles. Nice and quiet and yes very clean but you couldnt carry gas to the things and gas aint cheap.
Another thing that may interest some is that just because you dont see smoke doesnt mean its clean and on the other side of the coin all smoke is not always very bad.
Any smoke is not a good thing but much of the visible lorry smoke today is a puff as the lorry starts or as the pedal is pressed from idle. I put that down to soots being moved within the exhaust. Even with all sorts of emissions equipment you are not going entirely to stop the appearance soot in any diesel. These big trucks are anything from 6 to 16ltr. They deserve to be called “a piece of engineering” or “some bit of kit” they would put car engineering to shame
It is far from the stream of stuff that used to come out of an AEC Routemaster.
However a good guide is.
If it smells pungent get out of its way. I dont know how to explain this but some folk will know.
These high torque rise type engines used in many of these large vehicles today are way and beyond anything in cars for not just emissions but for economy.
Then there is heat. A cold engine is not a clean engine even without smoke.
By far the majority of lorries/buses remain warm all day. Many dont be started cold in town at all.
The first few hundred yards is terrible pollution and as the engine warms up pollution falls
Cars often live in towns. Those all start cold in town. They dont go far they stop. They sit. They the performance is repeated.
This can clearly be seen by the amount of DPF problems due to short journeys
So diesel is likely to be around for some time in large vehicles and large vehicles are the most economical and green due to the amount of goods they can move with the fuel they use.

Norwich has some single-deck buses running on gas. They have large tanks on the roof streamlined into the bodywork. I don’t know any more about the efficiency and performance characteristics but clearly it can be done.

Oh yes it can be done as I have pointed out. I have been there, I have seen them.
Tanks on the roof generally suggest Methane (nat gas)
You’ll not get haulage companies to switch to anything that costs more to run and is not easily got or fast to fill.
We can do without our personal transport and for a start we can begin to move away from diesel if we think anything of ourselves and our off spring
We cannot do without these large vehicles like them or not and like them or not they are much better at their job and what they do than our diesel cars.
So instead of some of us shifting the blame to lorries and buses and even sometime taxi’s remember that it is the buses that provide public transport and it is the lorries that bring us the food we eat.
Yes we need change but change stars at the bottom.
We the car drivers are at the bottom.
Dont wait around on Gov to do anything, thats our get out clause. Blame the Gov.
The Gov gave us Diesel instead of gas. No! the Gov made a bit of an effort to promote gas.
Cars can very easily beside lorries be made to run on gas and the manufactures had them available but we didnt buy near enough of them instead we bought diesels although I pat myself on the back on that one.
Were not living in the USSR and have no choice of vehicle.
We have a choice.
We also had a choice at every election and look what we done time after time. We are not voting for someone or some party but instead we are voting against the other lot. No where more than where I come from and they are the biggest shower of ****** I have ever seen.
We dont vote for the green parties because they’ll not be big enought to be a force against the other lot
Look its simple, diesel is not clean. Emissions equipment can make it better but better is no better than a petrol car which emits loads less particulates which is another carcinogen
If one would like to look back a few years the EU made the brilliant decision to back diesel to cut down co2.
Just a few years before the same EU made us all have CATs on our petrol cars to cut down on CO.
The CAT converts the petrol cars poison CO to co2 the green house gas that diesels dont emit as much of.
Is there not a contradiction there.
They didnt say take off the CATs They didnt say look for an alternative.

Now who is the most powerful nation in EU. I dont have to tell you
Who was the prime mover Gov behind diesel and what is their biggest car company called. I dont have to tell you
Which car company pushed diesel like there was no tomorrow. I dont have to tell you.
Which car company told more lies than any other. I dont have to tell you

My Mother and some family live n Canada. they would say “wake up and smell the coffee”

Re your comment about clean commercial vehicles, in London Boris Johnson has
started bringing ‘green buses’ and low emission zone from the outskirts of the city.
Concerning the production of electricity , with the growth of offshore wind farms I am surprised that some one has not come up with a system of Piezo generation as used in buoys in the supporting columns to increase the efficiency
of the wind farm.
More use of Solar Panels would also help-my home was fitted with them 3-4 years ago and the rebates will have covered the the cost in about 7 years from installation. Sadly the government have removed the subsidy since that time! How green is that?

Hi C H, Glad to see a solar owner on here and also that you confirm that your not making a kings ransom out of it although you are happy with the returns.
Yes I am disappointed about the end of incentives but the press gave it dogs abuse and I dont know why. I recently seen one that suggested that solar owners were getting paid 14k per year which is far from the case for 99.9999% but somehow somewhere they found someone with quite a large array that got 14k per year. That was all that they needed to get the bad news.
This leads the everyday man to seethe every time he see’s solar panels when in fact the owner was frugal, caring, considerate enough to invest in the tech.
The big problem is that near no one realise just how much energy is already required at present.
Most of us grew up with it and take it forgranted but if we look back to the early days of only one light on at a time we have moved on to consume a colossal amount of energy.
I used to be friendly with a man who worked in a coal fired station about 25m from here and i got a look around
I have relations up north and have got to see around one of the big hydro plants also.
But now. if you threaten to put a damn in, all hell breaks loose about wildlife and what not but the reality is that around those installations the wildlife is thriving.
A wind farm is always on someone door step and even Mr Trump is getting in on the act. Go Home sir with your r****t views and your bigotry and leave our little country to us. Imagine if a man with a flop over from Aberdeen tried it on with a Texas Court. The suspect the man from Aberdeen would have more sense.
As to your Piezo generator I have no experience of piezo on that scale so I’ll keep my trap shut on that one but if it works I’ll listen, all ears.
The wind farm problem is exasperated by the above not really understanding just what it takes to keep us going.
If the news says a new set of turbines have started and they keep a town or whatever going many people put it down as being no use. They are all of use no matter how small.
What these people need is to be taken by the coach load preferable to a coal fired station and let them see the conveyors hurtling coal at boilers. Coal fired is best because you get to see the fuel.
Then they need told that this is what it is like 24/7/365 and that it takes X amount of this size of boiler to keep the UK going.
For those working there it is nothing but for someone who has no comprehension of coal apart from the fire in the sitting room it can take them a few minutes to even get a grasp on this.
Then they should be taken to Chernobyl just to experience the sheer size of the vacated area that will not be occupied for generations followed by a visit to the many hill communities in these our own islands far from Chernobyl to hear from the countless families who lost loved ones to cancer in communities that all of a sudden had a cancer rate hither to unheard of.
For those interested. A solar farm may not be pretty, a wind farm may not be pretty, both may hurt your house price but neither are likely to kill and if they do it wont be 100s or 1000s. if a turbine falls down or goes on fire it is likely to be so far away from you you’ll not smell the smoke.
That was just thinking out loud.

Shaun, I was not advocating a total ban because that would not be realistic – a bit tongue in cheek. Just pointing out that to commit to a real problem we have to do more than tinker with it. Anyway, horses were a great source of pollution in London before motor transport, including emissions.

Earlier I did suggest a more moderate approach,
that of essential motor vehicles. Or perhaps put the other way, limiting non-essential diesel and petrol vehicles. Large diesel engined vehicles can, and do, have exhaust treatments to reduce pollution, but at an increase in CO2 I believe. Electric transport is clearly a way forward. If we want to tackle pollution we need more radical ways than simply reducing engine emissions.

We don’t live in Utopia. Get real. We don’t have the infrstucture in this country to impliment such an ideal.

Reg, we need to start somewhere otherwise matters will simply deteriorate. How would you suggest we improve the quality of the air we all breathe in towns and cities?

Hi Malcolm, I would like to see better air quality period. This little land of ours from the air is just one village after the other. It is densely populated and whatever happens one place soon gets to the next.
As to “where do we start”, well you can see here that it wouldnt take much to get a heated debate going.
There is not much consensus even here and there are a few “greens” lurking here I feel.
When I was a bit younger I thought I had all the answers and given that if I had done all the research and was in my right mind then everyone would do the same.
Well, were many years on and I’m still out on a limb and although I still think I was right and that and science has proved me right I am also nearly as convinced that by far the majority of people dont give a s**t about themselves let alone us just as long as Jack is okay today. Money, money, Money Says it all.

Brilliant observation DeeKay I feel the same as you but fear the powers that be will just pay this lip service and try to brush it under the carpet.
I hope I am wrong!

The more I read about the harm of diesel the more I feel vindicated to switch to an electric car last year. It is one of the best decisions of my motoring life. The car is virtually free to run, is fast, quiet, carries up to 7 and is, apparently, the safest car in the world ( and the most drag co efficient!) sadly the Government doesn’t seem to be as committed to electric cars as it says – last year when I bought the car it was ZERO benefit in kind whereas now it is 5% and will eventually end up at 20%. This is a great shame as the benefits of electric car are many – including its silence which is a major benefit if you happen to live on a main road! Just imagine if all cars were electric – road noise would almost be a thing of the past and the filth generated from exhausts would be gone. Come on Hug a Hoodie Dave – really back electric car ownership!!

Doug Ward says:
8 October 2015

If only hey Anthony.
Let me point out to you and your emission free car.
Looking at the whole picture.
Who or what company supplies your electric to charge said car?
If all drivers went your way or could even afford one of these cars then what do you think happens at the companies that supplies the electric?
Ok I shall answer my own questions.
Consumption of fossil fuels goes through the roof at these power stations unless your with one that doesn’t.
A viscous circle on the horns of a dilemma.
I could go on but do you see the problem, the power station need to go green before anything else. Will that happen, my belief is no.
When you go abroad if at all do you fly?
Another problem that isn’t much talked about.
Natural disasters, volcanoes the emissions that they kick out.
I know that isn’t down to human activity but do you get my point?

Try not to be too sore on the few people who buy electric cars. At least they are going in the right direction if a little miss informed perhaps. I mean were diesel buyers not misinfored
No electricty, do electric cars
no electric cars no charge points and the list goes on. What comes first?
I would advocate clean elec generation first but its all a big problem

Good man but we have to do something to make the additional power to drive these cars if this is going to work.
It not good just thinking that if I had an electric car our town would be cleaner. the polution ia already starting to affect rural areas also so moving it to fossil fueled power stations is not the answer
The answers are not simple. They are not what everyone wants but they have to happen. We have to move sideways away from our traditional route.

DeeKay, we could use personal transport less, use mass transit (public transport) more, put much more goods on the railway, reduce aircraft use (foreign hols), ban fossil fueled vehicles from cities and towns, ban private flying and helicopters……. all sorts of ways to reduce pollution that most would not accept.

Tinkering with test regimes and pollution limits will reduce an individual vehicle’s effect, but does not address continually increasing vehicle use, the vast majority of existing vehicles built to older standards that have poor emissions, the inevitable increase in traffic congestion and emissions while not getting anywhere, so we are really being politically correct without actually dealing with the main problem.

All good, so long as we remember that electricity generation is not particularly clean at the moment although it’s getting better, and that to provide enough power generation and distribution capacity to enable all the cars on the road to go electric would require a massive investment and impact on the environment. That would still leave the goods vehicles and buses kicking out soot, although remedies are on the way with each new generation of combustion technology and engine development. Much more use could be made of our canal network for the movement of bulk goods like cement, aggregates and minerals, iron ore, steel coil and bar, oil and petroleum products, bricks, timber, flour, grain and animal feeds. These commodities are suitable for a ‘pipeline’ type supply process where once they are moving it hardly matters how long they take in transit from one stockpile to another. Modern handling technology, weather protection and temperature control can make canal transport as efficient as road and rail. It happens on the continent and could happen here if we had the will to make it work.

John, the problem with electric cars – battery driven – as I have mentioned elsewhere is that by the time you take power station efficiency, transmission losses, charging losses and conversion back to the wheels into account, fuel conversion efficiency is about the same as a petrol car (~20%) whereas a diesel car is around 30%. The only way from a pollution point of view – let alone the huge extra generation capacity – is to use electricity generated from non-fossil sources. We are miles away from being able to provide that.

I completely agree Malcolm. But I don’t think we should stop developing the electric technology and there are some situations where its advantages override the disadvantages that you rightly cited.

I agree John. But we also need to rethink out attitude towards personal transport, particularly in towns and cities. Individual vehicles seems an energy-inefficient way of getting about. We also need to think of the resources, including scarce raw materials, that are necessary to build vehicles, including electric. We cannot go on forever providing personal vehicles and fuel to an ever-increasing and wealthy world population.

To achieve this, it would be necessary to build canals with appropriate dimensions to handle modern freight. We are fortunate in having some rivers that are already suitable but most of our canals are not.

River and canal transport was ousted when the railways came along, because of speed and capacity. We should develop our railways much more to handle main freight distribution. Spending the £60 billion or so likely to help well-heeled managers get between London and Birmingham half an hour quicker would be much better spent on developing a rail freight distribution network and getting a lot of goods vehicles off the road.

I accept that there would have to be major investment in canals to enable them to serve modern industry’s needs with wider canals in some places and new means of changing levels but we shouldn’t let the best become the enemy of the good again. Let’s do what we can. I realise this could impact on the leisure use of canals so might not be a popular move.

As for the railways, I thought one of the major justifications in the business case for the new limited-stop lines to the Midlands and the North was to take passenger traffic away from the existing lines thus enabling them to carry much more freight – for which they are well suited because they have connexions to all the major inland freight depots and bulk load originating and destination points.

There is no business case – it was heavily criticised, not made public and what was available was heavily redacted (black-penned). HS2 has no intermediate stops so is of no use unless you want to get only to Birmingham. How many passenger will it take off normal routes to free up the large increase in capacity needed if we are serious about freight.

HS2 is a vanity project that pretends to do what it wont. It will cost every man, woman and child, including those unemployed, at least £1000 to build and goodness knows how much to subsidise its operation for the benefit of a few medium-distance commuters, businessmen and public servants. In a time of ever-increasing electronic communication why is that a sensible vision to invest in?

I don’t have an axe to grind about HS2, but if extra capacity on the railways is wanted it might as well be provided to the best modern standards. It seems to me that building a new line rather than trying to widen the existing routes is likely to cause less disruption overall. It also seems to me that creaming off the people who need to travel between London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds [while encouraging more to go by train who currently drive] is bound to provide some extra freight capacity on the present lines but also the possibility of more frequent services between the intermediate stations – again reducing the use of cars.

And getting back to waterborne transport for bulk commodities where transit times are not critical, it is largely forgotten that up until WW2 very large tonnages were conveyed around the coast where there are still hundreds of ports and distances to inland destinations sometimes quite short for the final haul. Sailing vessels were also commonplace until the early years of the 20th century and a few lingered on into the 1950’s – they were the ultimate clean prime mover and the low-draught versions could go right into cities connected to the sea by navigable rivers and waterways.

John, I support building extra railway lines between Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds. The problems I have is the cost of HS2 and its lack of flexibility. It does not stop at any intermediate stations, so if for example you live north of London you cannot pick it up at another town such as Aylesbury; you have to travel into London on another train. How much time does that add to your journey? Nor does it handle freight. The basic problem I see is the obsession with speed. In real terms by the time you have left home the 1 1/2 hour HS2 journey becomes 3 hours. So is it simply aimed at people who live in London (where we have a lot of civil servants).

A less exotic, and significantly less expensive and environmentally better train would take maybe 3 1/2 hours or less. Why is 1/2 so important.

I like the idea of bulk transport by ship. Small container vessels could no doubt handle a lot of supermarket basic distribution perhaps? Anyone in the business who knows some facts?

I wasn’t aware that HS2 wouldn’t be able to carry freight. HS1 does to and from the Channel Tunnel. 100+ mph electric freight trains are not impossible and there will probably be ample capacity overnight. I bet most trains on HS2 will travel below the maximum speed level. The important thing is the freeing-up of daytime capacity on the West Coast main line which serves major industrial centres and logistics hubs. My guess is that by the time HS2 is built there will be enough non-stop traffic between Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham and London to require compulsory reservations as in France on the LGV. No operator will run half-empty trains so marketing techniques will be deployed to fill them [as with air travel]; the recent drop in petrol prices might have undermined that forecast perhaps.

I should think the people of Aylesbury would continue to use the present route to Birmingham but have a less congested journey. We hear a lot in my region about a new east-west railway route between Oxford and Cambridge; will that not have a link to other lines like the Aylesbury line and the West Coast line giving joined up journeys?

John, an email in 2013 says there are no plans to carry freight on HS2 but it might eventually be use to carry post.
Although Aylesbury is not on a line to Birmingam you can get to a station that is. So who then will use HS2. Just those living in London (local diesel taxi journey)and further south.

Hi Malcolm, I hadn’t noticed this one of yours. I was taught or it was passed on to me when I was young that the then governments didn’t do well out of rail or canal. Road transport got road tax and road fuel duty on the 1000000 gal’s of fuel used. Rail and canal contributed to neither. I was also taught that the motorways were built on the back of the road transport industry. Maybe no one today thinks of it that way but that was what I was brought up with.

DeeKay, I’m not sure there was a tax conspiracy. Railways automatically ousted canals because of their speed. They continued to expand and then hold there own into the 50’s but the rise in private transport was their downfall. No longer did you have to go to work, shopping or on holiday by local or mainline train. So I think that was a natural progression.

However when a transport minister has a road building interest I wonder how the motorway network was backed – by real need or by commercial interest? Probably the first, with the second as a bonus. Losing the railways shed an awful lot of jobs and, presumably, income tax and NI.

The congestion on the roads to my mind now makes a rethink of freight distribution necessary. Probably making many town deliveries and long distance shipment by night, but also shifting as much onto rail to distribution points. Even by sea as mentioned elsewhere.

Like pollution, we cannot go on as we are; we need to make a real worthwhile change to have a significant effect.

Hi again Malcolm, We agree on most things it seems give or take an opinion and our own ideas and notions and one we seem to have little difference on is that there has to be serious changes. I dont even know if the majority of people will go for mass transport or indeed anything that stops their “independence” until their independence is simply no longer available.
I know I am often out on a limb but my history doesnt leave me to suffer fools lightly. I have had my fill of do gooders as long as its not them that has the trouble of doing the good. Loads who are all ears about energy at home but nt on my door step.
Anyhow we’re away off topic with this

The relocation of employment to be closer to populations would be the route to the greatest reduction in road and rail traffic and thus the reduction in atmospheric and noise pollution, a reduction in carbon consumption, a reduction in stress, depression and respiratory illnesses, a reduction in road deaths and injuries, and the improvement of family life and general well-being. Economically it would be a super-bonus for the nation as well.

I have been around “energy” debates a long time and its a tedious subject
The Gov just now will have trouble supporting elec vehicles because the first they need to do is the make or encourage the gereration of electicty for this extra load
The Gov has just done a U turn on RE incentives and it seems no one wants solar panels or wind turbine on their door step and that is a very dificult task in such a densly populate country
Yes Elec cars by all means But clean electricty first if we could

Anthony, it is an illusion to think that plug in cars are the future. Firstly, the huge initial cost of say the Nissan Leaf, costing between £25,990 and £30,490 on the road, dependant on model, then has a tax payer subsidy of £5,000 on the purchase cost. A two year old Leaf with about 10,000 miles on the clock is re-selling at about £12,000. That is a 58% depreciation in two years!
Then you have to consider where the electricity comes from to power the car. It mainly comes from a power station burning fossil fuel. 20% of the energy produced is lost in transmission. Yes, nuclear (clean-up cost unsustainable), wind and solar are contributing but ultimately, plugging cars into the grid indirectly causes production of climate change gases. They are reliant on tax payer subsidy and have huge battery renewal costs. The plug in car is a short term answer i.e. unsustainable. It was another Gordon Brown blunder to subsidise them in the first place and subsequent governments have done nothing to change that. Not withstanding the necessity for unpolluted air, where cars are concerned, the only proven technologies to “save the planet and humanity from disastrous climate change” are Hydrogen Fuel Cell (combustion by-product water) and photovoltaic (zero emissions).
Surplus night time wind generating capacity can easily be transferred to hydrogen production or stored in the new generation batteries, soon to be produced in the USA.
Sadly, our current government are unprepared to bite the bullet and instigate the necessary policy changes. They would rather maintain the status quo of multi billion pound fossil fuel subsidies than improve air quality and sustainability. In general, the UK is fast slipping behind competitor economies such as Germany, the USA and China by not making decisions for the long term sustainability of the UK and health of the population. End of rant!

This problem only came to light in California because of their very strict emission laws and the only way car makers can make their vehicles achieve those very low limits is to cheat. It is an unavoidable reality that an internal combustion engine cannot run on fresh air alone, it needs a fuel and the burning of that fuel will produce pollutants so I think the lawmakers were perhaps being too unrealistic in their targets. I appreciate the object of the regulations but forest fires have produced far more contamination, also, until all countries take emissions seriously, the global warming scenario will continue to ‘fuel’ debate. Even if all cars were made electric the electricity would have to be produced somehow, the only realistic solution is hydrogen as a power source but it needs a huge amount of investment in vehicle design and infrastructure, who is going to make that the investment? Certainly not the oil rich countries, China might, if only to cut its own pollution.

Frank says:
8 October 2015

Thanks! This is the only comment so far that understands what VW has done. They have cheated the emission tests. Changing the software is not going to make the cars more polluting. It should make them better.

They changed the software to make them more economic and have more mpg. This results in higher emissions not lower.

DeeKay, could you give a reference to the source of this please?

I dont need a reference source for this. This is common knowledge in the industry.
I am a time served mechanic and engineer who has remained close to the industry and as recent a 18mts ago I attended my last fuel injection course on the latest tech being used in these very vehicle’s. Give me a break please. i am only trying to help. I am not up for a debate

I’m not challenging your statement but am interested in the consequences of the effect changing the way the engine behaves (as in reduced NOx) on other factors – CO2, performance and mpg for example. This will be documented somewhere and I’d simply like to look at it. Anyone have a link? 🙂

Hi Malcolm, They dont give any written info on such but i you like I’l have a go maybe later when I have time

Thanks Dee

Malcolm, from what I recall, Ford were working on “lean burn” technology to improve fuel consumption decades ago. However “lean” implies excess air and higher temperatures and hence also favours the oxidation of atmospheric N2 to make NOx . So that option was not pursued.

DerekP, yes, I also saw that high combustion temperature, such as a lean mixture, produced a lot more NOx. Consuming it in the exhaust with an additive seems to increase CO2. .
Reducing the number of petrol/diesel vehicle miles travelled in town seems a logical way to reduce emissions generally, with enough electric vehicle (for hire/rent?) to deal with essential personal travel.
Will we give up some personal freedom to support this? I don’t know. Perhaps a poll might give a clue?

That’s my understanding of what VW has done to improve mpg and minimise carbon dioxide emissions. It might be better to use more fuel if this means lower nitrogen oxide emissions.

What we haven’t heard yet is VW’s motivation for installing the “cheat” which I suspect has more to it than simply achieving certain tax classes in some countries or emission levels which enable them to sell more. The tests involved are about emission levels, not mpg figures. It’s been known for some years that some ECU fuel maps have dips in them in the zones near mpg test speeds, but to run on “dipped” or lean fuel values at all engine and road speeds would cause engine life shortening, so in a way the “dipped” map looks after customer interest too! I suspect the software, for “normal” running adopts settings which promote longevity of the engine and the “cheat” levels produce conditions conducive to higher wear rates. This is purely my surmise.
I suggest we need more info from VW, before sentence is passed or demands made on governments. I also wonder where the levels in question sit in relation to our UK MoT test criteria which I understand were set after considerations of public health had been made.
Please note, while I am a petrolhead and fan of VW, I am in no way connected with VW or any VW product or service provision!

We can make Freedom of Information requests for information held by publicly funded bodies but if we could do the same with commercial organisations, that would provide both a strong deterrent against cheating and other forms of misconduct.

This Tory Government are looking to change the freedom of information laws unless we the voter stop them.

A useful campaign from Which? would be to ensure information from public bodies is even more freely available than at present, so the FOI laws should be protected. The difficulty is putting resources in place to provide information for legitimate enquiries while not getting overwhelmed by vexatious enquiries.

So far as I know, public bodies are not required to respond to “otiose and vexatious enquiries” and the same could apply to enquiries to commercial and other organisations. There are quite a few charities that also could be more open and subject to public scrutiny.

John, the problem with commercial organisations is that much of their information might be of use to competitors if disclosed. So someone independent would have to decide when “commercial confidentiality” was overridden by “public interest”.
There is still a long way to go in the public service arena, in local councils, NHS, for example in getting truthful and complete information made public in a timely way. If it were, many perpetrators of malpractice and underhand behaviour might be inhibited from acting as they do if they were more likely to be quickly found out.
This is a real off-topic discussion! Perhaps it merits a separate conversation ? 🙂

Thanks Doug. I was not aware of any proposals to introduce changes. It concerns me that while the system is valuable, there are a few who misuse it and make vexatious claims, which waste public money. I know that Which? occasionally makes FOI requests but I’m surprised that we don’t hear more about them.

I see that Malcolm has already mentioned the problems of vexatious enquiries. I am aware of one person who has made over 100 such enquiries of an organisation that receives major government funding, as part of a personal vendetta.

What matters most to me is that the FOI system is extended to cover businesses.

Greytech says:
8 October 2015

Wavechange I assume that you would also be happy for individuals to as you for private information under the freedom of information. No? then why should a commercial organisation. The reason for FOI is that we, the public, are paying taxes that run public bodies including the government and I was decided that we should be able to enquire about a limited range of how that money is spent. There is no justification to impose the same on commercial organisations. That is why we have regulations on many industries. It is why we have emission laws applying to motor vehicles. What we need to ensure is that those regulations are enforceable and the tests to ensure compliance are realistic and current.

@greytech – A FOI request is submitted to an organisation, even if can occasionally relate one or more individuals. I would be happy for the system to be extended charities, as John and others have suggested, even though I might have to deal with a request as a trustee.

I think it’s fair to say that companies are responsible for the majority of the problems mentioned on Which? Conversation and it is important that organisations are made accountable.

Many public bodies cause problems. It is far from restricted to “companies”. For example, the cause of mpg and CO2 discrepancy from real life – as this conversation is about – is down to a public body – the EC – although many, including a charity, would much prefer it seems to point the finger at a “company”. Somehow if an organisation exists to make a profit it can be seen by some as automatically a target.
MPs expenses anyone? NHS cover ups? The Dome (for longer memories).

Following a ruling by the European Court of Justice earlier this year, the privately owned water companies in England (they are publically owned in Wales and Scotland) can no longer hide behind “commercial confidentiality” as an excuse for withholding information relating to environmental matters. That ruling could pave the way to require disclosure by VW and any other company wishing to deceive the public on environmental matters. We should be very guarded about changes or watering down of the Freedom of Information Act. It would not be in the public interest to do so and would frustrate valuable investigative journalism.

Surely when a vehicle what ever fuel goes for MOT , the gases tested coming out of the exhaust must either pass or fail , whatever fuel . The test is what comes out of the exhaust.????

Geoff – In the case of diesel engines, all that is tested is smoke (particulate matter). The engine is allowed tor reach normal operating temperature and three smoke tests are carried out with the engine at maximum speed. This is done out of gear, so does not relate to road use.

As we know, road fund licence bands are not based on PM emissions. I don’t know the bandings of all VW, Audi & Skoda cars but this may mean that VW have defrauded the UK Exchequer too. Complexity after complexity!

Roland, VW cheated on NOx. CO2 is what road fund (and benefit in kind income tax) income is based on. No one – so far – has yet said that the cheat device adversely affected CO2 emissions.

I would have thought the motivation was real simple

Under test conditions with emissions equipment full operational the car has
Lower MPG
Lower BHP
Shorter service intervals

Without the emissions equipment operating the cars have
Higher MPG
Higher BHP
Longer service intervals

Is that not enough motivation.

That is what VW were using to sell the things.
They had gotten better than everyone else except everyone else couldn’t find the elusive thing that made them better.
The VW groups card players had an ACE’s up their sleeve but no one could catch him out.
The reason no one could catch him out was because they hadnt learned that a cheat tells lies.
I actually think that no one up to about maybe 2 years back suspected that such a thing would actually be attempted.
As time went on everyone began to realise there was something very strange going on but no one could see what it was. Then in the US they got caught on and when the US Gov ask VW to fix it, VW recalled the diesel cars and sent them back out again telling the Gov the cars were fixed. But it didnt quite work for them. Lies always catches you up. And they had just lied again.
A kinda of a drive the car around the back. Keep it there a little while and drive around to the customer again. It wasnt much better than that
You see very few people like a cheat. Maybe a few quid under the table here and there but someone who declares nothing and pays no tax and drives around with his nose n the air?? Well someone is going to shop him, Right?
Thats what happened. They got caught cheating. There is no excuse, there is no reasonable grounds, there is no mistakes, there is not doubt. They done it. Deliberate holding Ace’s.

Have you been listening to someone who has told you that the EGR lowers cylinder temp and without and operational EGR the cylinders will burn up or that the DPF is to help with exhaust back pressure and to remove it will cause higher MPG and will in a short time be terminal to your engine
Well I have news for everyone. I have heard loads of this.
If any of you have taken this type of hype on board the best thing you could do with it it to highlight the files and click the delete button.
Complete rubbish propagated by people who want you to believe that all these items are great and a great advantage.
They are a great advantage if you want to reduce health threatening NOX and you want to attempt to reduce the size of Particulates
They are not an advantage to anything else
Dont get me wrong. I am anti pollution minded and I dont like smokey things

Emissions equipment does absolutley nothing for MPG BHP or reliablility.
An EGR recirculates sooty dirty exhaust gasses back into the inlet.
If it were not for trying to cut down NOX the very invention of an EGR would never have taken place. VW and no manufacturer would ever have used the device.
Many many engines have been destroyed by crankcases being so filled with soot from faulty EGRs the oil turned to something like open case gear lube. Something and oil pump cant move when cold.

Both catalytic converters and DPFs strangle the flow of everything and the engine having to push the gasses through these devices costs fuel

There is no dipped maps for normal or map for engine preservation.

There are a set of predetermined parameters and a bit of “self learn”
After that it does what its told according to the parameters and where you put the pedal and engine rpm’s.

DeeKay – Would it help if EGR valves were cleaned during servicing? If they become blocked up with soot, engine damage can occur, as you say. Diesel engines have long been valued for reliability and longevity, but perhaps this is no longer the case.

EGRs often need cleaned but the are electrically operated. They were once vacuum but that was the good old days.
Between being filled with soot and causing additional loading on the motor they seem to fail.
To give you an example of cleaning.
I had to help a friend the other day
He had bought a 5cyl Alfa. He had been for service to the same dealer that had stamped the service book its entire life to be told he needed a new manifold as the threads retaining the EGR had somehow stripped. They didnt say they stripped them
The estimate was gynormous.
I had a look and the EGR had been off and one so many times there was what I could only describe as a budge of bolts,washer and spacers trying to get hold of the last threads
The one bolt/screw that made some attempt at holding it was actually a 1/4 UNC which is marginally larger than 6mm and had been forced into the manifold.
The previous owner is known and he said he had been in numerous times to have the EGR cleaned and that in some 80k there had been 3 new ones or at least he paid for 3 new ones.
And it had nothing to do with being in a town and not blowing her out. We all know the previous owner and the man and he regularly uses all 200 odd ponies. He didnt buy the 5cyl to look at.
My friend thought it would be a good car because t would be well serviced. As usual the servicing let themselves down.
A lot of not too nice drilling and watching for swarf and 4 heli coils were fitted.
His EGR was no longer working unfortunately but the threads still needed sorted to fit another
SO yes they are cleaned and often regularly but it doesnt stop them failing.
Yes blocking is not good but “blocking” is a little misleading.
When they block they mostly dont actually become blocked, as in nothing gets through type of blocked.
The term blocked would better describe them having so much soot in them that they cant get properly closed so the term often used is a little back to front.
Its blocked usually means, its so full it cant close
The symptoms are
From the rear. An intermittent on throttle or on throttle only very slow heavy looking black, very black sooty smoke that tends to linger and looks like its heavy and falls. Thats because it is heavy and if there not wind and the car is going slowly it does fall..
According to how wide the port will determine the amount off soot
Real bad, the rear of the vehicle will be covered in a black tint that if touched you will know it is pure carbon.
You will also not want to stand at the rear with the engine running. Although if a DPF regen is going on you wont want a whiff of that either and give that a regen is lcearing/burning/reducing the soot size the fact the EGr is blocked can keep the DPF in regen near all the time.
If this is allowed to continue it is near to certain that the combination of soot and crankcase fumes will and do block the inlet manifold that is why there are loads of inlet manifold available on line.
They are not easy to clean out. its a bit like mining coal.
Yes an EGR reduces NOX but as the thing gets older often it emits more rubbish than it ever made up for in earlier life.
The EGR has a tough time. I feel for the little things
Then on top the dealer and garage repair prices are terrible too say the least and not everyone has the knowledge to diagnose of repair so after market doesnt help
So has diesel had its day.
I wooould not dare answer that. I am not in this for a debate.
I dont like diesel cars. Never did.
Some, not all mechanics are like this as maybe like me they get to repair the things and the repairs are always too dear.
The customers never have enough money despite all the saving in MPG being made.
So I have had many diesel customers who have for want of better words p****d me off and expected me to carry them through their time of need.
Not all are like that.
Certainly the big stuff will be around for a long time to come.
Hope that helps

Dee – Thanks for that. I might have a look at my EGR valve and see what state it is in. I have never seen a trace of soot from the exhaust and the inside of the tailpipe is clean. I have no idea how frequently the DPF is cleaned.

If you see soot at your exhaust and you have a modern diesel I would be surprised
That doesnt mean you’ll not find soot in the EGR.
If the EGR is not sooty its not working.
I have seen one TDI that the EGR was like new one side and the other had obviously seen exhaust gases. I am not alone.
If you can see in around it, it does not need cleaned
If you see loads of sticky black soot then it better cleaned
It will be black unless you have one of the VW ones that never move
The inside of these modern diesel engine’s is often nowhere near as clean as the outside so if you see a little dusting of soot in the inlet manifold bits and bobs dont be surprised, Thats the way they. No point in cleaning, it’ll just be back tomorrow
If the breathing system looks like the soot can be dug out rather than wiped then the problems are beginning.
This is why there are branded cleaning methods/machines out there now.
These things can really build up some layer of stuff.

Why are we waiting for a fix, why are we waiting for VW or anyone else to do something? The government should simply ban all VW diesels from the roads now and ban the sale of all new VWs for the time being, until the fix, if there is one, is sorted. Why do we have to keep breathing the polluted air these vehicles produce?
The government should also ensure legal action against VW so that affected owners are fully compensated. But we shouldn’t just be waiting and leaving these vehicles on the road.

Ah Ha I have a little support, Cheers man

As to the theory that it is only VW that has the cheat device thus suggesting that there there wont be that much effect on health is perhaps a theory, maybe, possibly or until you are visiting chest clinics and you are surrounded by people with obviously chest complaints.
During countless chats what came as the common denominator way more than smoking was that their lives were close to exhaust fumes be they road, factory or farm.
I have met diesel fans amongst these people who up to that point had considered smoking to be the main problem and that because they hadnt smoked they must be the odd ones out here and all these other people killed themselves with cigartettes.
So here were people who considdered that everyone except themselve were suffering from a self inflicted illness.
But for them to realise that few of the people sitting around them had been smokers or that they had not had to endure a smokey workplace came as a shock to them.
Stereotyping can be misleading.
There were several moves to clean the air up in the UK.
It’s not all about towns although the towns suffer most.
I live rural one might say but despite that if you try to paint anything here you have to clean the black sticky substance off it first. This is a combination of oil,soot and water. A nice mess and it wasnt here 30 years ago.
The various clean air regulations were meant to do just that, clean the place up.
The Gov’s around EU and UK decided that diesel was the way to go and for some reason the people believe politicians, something that never fails to amaze me given their records. That resulted in a serious increase in all sorts of airborne stuff that is not good for us.
According to scientists our cities should have been getting cleaner by now but instead London and other cities are about to be fined for not having achieve a reasonable air quality.
The air quality is actually considered dangerous according to reports this week
Given that we can be fairly sure that the manufacturers other than VW group are at least meeting the the initial tests and without the VW style defeat device some are emitting max 3 maybe 4 times the limit of NOX whilst others it is beginning to appear are actually pretty close to correct.
If the all diesel cars were correct London would already be much much cleaner.
The City of London has its LEZ thus the city only has the latest euro emissions cars.
So in theory London and Boris have done all in their power including new bus’s to lower NOX, Particulate’s etc.
Now if all the diesels in London were only emitting from normal to 3 to 4 times the regulated level of NOX London would not be in the fix it is in.
VWs problem is with its cars from around 2008 onward. These are the very ones you see driving around London. Also consider Skoda, Seat and Audi.
It is not good enough to “think” just Volkswagon. It’s more or less every diesel in the VW group.
I think that nearly all VW group diesels in London will be the fraudulent models. Would I be correct??
So consider that as we walk along the London streets just about all the cars with TDI on the back are emitting from around 20 times to 40 times the NOX they should be emitting the maths start to come into play.
So a TDi Golf, Audi, Skoda and Seat emits the same polution as 20 to 40 similar correctly engineered diesel cars.
Or 5 to 10 times the ones that are not quite as well engineered
Now given that half of all cars sales are diesels the numbers are adding up.

I’ll sow the seeds and see what’ll grow

A growing problem is the power of the big multinational corporates. If individual governments propose tighter regulation the corpoartes threaten not to invest there. What’s needed is for more governemnets to take a principled stance and do what is right to protect the woder public interest.

Once a car passes 70mph, the engine management changes things so that the car goes to high performance and it then kicks out high levels of all sorts of muck. So the motorway speeders are adding greatly to the pollution created by their cars.

I’m afraid not. Long before you reach 70mph the car is kicking out loads more muck than at the mostly optimum 55mph
So if you want to reduce the muck and save money slow down.
Heh, I’m not telling you how to drive but there is nothing in the software to support your theory. There is all kinds of compensations and changes relating primarly to throttle and sometime the gear including injector timing, injector pulses and fuel enrichment but 70mph is not a magic number

Gerry says:
8 October 2015

Why is it merely optional for VW owners to have their offending vehicles corrected? Few will bother because it will reduce performance and increase fuel consumption.

If they keep the dodgy software, their cars will emit excess pollution. The recall should be compulsory, and all uncorrected vehicles should fail their MoTs.

The current MOT test for diesel vehicles does not measure nitrogen oxides, just smoke.

There are various ways of measuring nitrogen oxides and I would like to know how this is done for vehicles. Perhaps this testing needs to be included in the MOT test.

I agree that all vehicles with the offending software should be modified – and the sooner the better.

If the mod is not confirmed by VW the chances of even getting and MOT appointment or raod tax will be zero Any emissions test will have nothing to do with it

No one has said but there may be some who suppose it is merely optional.
Here’s the more likely supposition
For VW Group to notify the owners they will use the DVLA data base
Once fix is complete the service manager will notify the DVLA via the same database that the vehicle is as it should be
To get tax or mot all of which are via the same data bases the car will require the fix to be done otherwise neither tax nor MOT can be applied for.
I would imagine that even now there are measures being put in place to perhaps randomly test these affected vehicles as a measure to ensure no one is just ticking boxes
If you choose to have the fix removed then you are in the same box as those who have mods done to their diesels and are are the possibility of being caught out then also

Diesel will never be a clean as unleaded petrol. Volkswagen should still go ahead with their inventions of cleaner running cars. They can afford to do so even though they will have to alter all those VWs on the road. They are giving pay off of £23million to head of VW who resigned over scandal they can well afford to go ahead with invention of clean running vehicles. What about all the lorries running on diesel? They pollute the atmosphere more than cars.

Wendy – Here is a link to a TV programme that points out just how dependent we are on the diesel engine: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b06csy8c/timeshift-series-15-3-the-engine-that-powers-the-world

My understanding is that the emission of nitrogen oxides has been exacerbated by the efforts to make engines more efficient. Lowering carbon dioxide emissions has given us more nitrogen oxides. 🙁

Even if the we had clean running engines, what about the environmental impact of making, using and disposing of them. Have a look at tyres as an example.

Maybe we should think about what we buy in supermarkets and stick to local produce when it is in season.

James mc colm says:
8 October 2015

It is time to have all buses and taxis that run around large towns and cities to be fuelled by gas.

So the government will not re-grade the affected VW/Audi/Seat cars into their correct tax bands now the truth is beginning to emerge? Or are they saying that the NEDC test isn’t smart enough to tell the difference? Either the test isn’t fit for purpose, or the government isn’t!

As far as I know it is only Nitrogen oxides emissions that may be affected in the UK. Tax bands are based on CO2 emissions so, unless these are also increased, there would be no effect on tax. Anyone know if CO2 is significantly changed?
The “test” is not fit for purpose and is being replaced in, hopefully, the near future. The EC is not fit for purpose either in requiring this NEDC test to be used for nearly 20 years without sensible updating and amendment.

The tax bands are based on c02 The co2 is unaffected

Vanessa says:
8 October 2015

Fumes are an invisible killer!!!…

In my opinion, it is incorrect to say and have a go at the ‘car industry’ in general. The problem is not the car industry as a whole, the problem is VW and related cars (SEAT, Skoda and Audi). From what we have been told, these cars were meant to have a new type of engine. This engine is state of the art and VW has spent a lot on it. However, there was still an emissions problem with the engine. To ‘fix’ this VW decided to cheat on the emissions tests. This was reported by the International New York Times on 07/10/15. If this is true, and it needs very careful verification, then I see no reason why the rest of the car industry should suffer. On top of that, I would suggest that VW should pay the price even more than it already has with resignations, prosecutions and full refunds throughout all affected.

Bruno……you hit the nail on the head……without fudging the issue….you’ve got my backing for one.

We are all worried about being cheated by VW group ourselves. What about governments who base their car taxes on levels of excessive of toxic fumes. How much Tax have they lost ?

That is why VW US are in front of the US senate folks amongst others
The german dept of transport are looking into things as are the DVLA
A lot will rest on “the fix” and how good the fix is and can be proven to be

Can someone tell me why we measure CO2 emission rather than using fuel consumption of vehicles? They are related for a particular fuel, such as diesel, and fuel economy is something that everyone can relate to.

I would like to see car manufacturers focus on lowering then environmental impact of their vehicles during manufacture, use and disposal rather than devoting resources to designing the latest gadgets to massage the ego of buyers and diverting their attention from safe driving. Or are car manufacturers exempt from corporate social responsibility?

CO2 is the measure used by the EC for climate change purposes. Their prime aim is protecting the environment.

I appreciate this, but fuel economy means more to the average motorist.

Use a “real life” mpg website. That is what we should be publicising until the WLTP test comes into operation. We do already derive mpg in the NEDC. Hopefully the new WLTP test will be more representative but I would leave it as an “official” test to give “comparable” results for emissions and “official” mpg . It is very difficult to design a laboratory test – the only place you can have full control over a test to give comparable results – that also totally accurately reflects real life. Real life will also vary from driver to driver. So I would still promote collecting drivers’ mpgs as the basis for what I might get in practice. Rather than just an average, I would like to see a range that, say, 90% of drivers get.

I want laboratory tests conducted under standard conditions that allow the performance of vehicles to be compared. Vehicles that have not been modified to make them perform better. Tests carried out in independent laboratories to avoid cheating (or discrepancies, to use VW’s term).

Anyone is welcome to use real life tests if they wish.

That is what the WLTP is intended to do. I doubt there are sufficient “independent” laboratories to do what is needed, even if I had faith in their results. Having dealt with some in the past I was disappointed at their staffing, equipment and expertise.

Being pragmatic, if there is evidence that manufacturers “cheat” when testing (and none has been presented, so it is speculation that they misuse their own test centres), two measures could be introduced (if they are not used already). One is to have an independent knowledgeable person oversee particular tests and remove a tested vehicle for repeat testing at another reputable laboratory. Auditing happens generally in industry to support laboratory accreditation.

Many of us don’t trust the motor industry, Malcolm. The present incident alone is enough to demonstrate the need for independent testing.

The present “incident” has nothing, as far as I can see, to do with independent testing. If the “cheat device” automatically responds to being in a test environment (by for example recognising if only one set of wheels is rotating) then presumably any test laboratory would be fooled.
You may be among people who distrust commerce or industry. I think others have a different view. We simply need to separate fact from emotion and prejudice otherwise the wrong people will be blamed. Do you join me in blaming the EC for their totally inadequate NEDC test that is the root cause of CO2 and mpg discrepancies

Malcolm – You are asking me to support your views, but perhaps we should first revisit my concerns about manufacturers cheating in the existing NEDC tests by modifying vehicles prior to testing. Documented examples include taping up door seams, disconnecting the alternator, interfering with the brakes, changing the lubricant, changing or over-inflating tyres, removal of weight such as rear seats. For those who are not familiar with this, here is an article published by the European consumer association BEUC: http://www.beuc.eu/publications/beuc-x-2015-016_the_great_fuel_consumption_scam.pdf

You have told me that this is not cheating but exploiting loopholes. A dictionary definition of ‘cheat’ is: “Act dishonestly or unfairly in order to gain an advantage” Unless the existing rules for NEDC testing state that the vehicle can be modified prior to testing, the manufacturers are cheating.

We do not know which manufacturers are carrying out which modifications and we might never know. The fact that modification of vehicles has been condoned has probably contributed to more advanced cheating, as done by the VW Group. I expect we will learn about other examples of cheating by other manufacturers.

The obvious solution is to make independent testing mandatory. Any responsible manufacturer should welcome independent testing and verification of its own measurements.

It seems to me that if the EC imposes poorly written rules, then manufacturers will be able to find cunning ways of complying with the rules that violate the apparent intent of the rules.

Some may regard this as cheating, others may regard this as normal business practice for a comparative test in a competitive market.

I have some background experience with the EU and international regulations for the carriage of dangerous goods. Here at least some of the safety test requirements use phrases like “as presented for transport” to restrict the testing of items and equipment to the conditions of their intended use.

It seems to me that any sensibly thought out car tests ought to impose similar constraints.

What did Fiat Chrysler say then? Their response isn’t listed on the other page at http://www.which.co.uk/campaigns/car-fuel-tests-trust/car-makers-deny-emissions-fuel-tests/.

wavechange, the BEUC “report” (article really because it does not present all the facts) has the same one-sided stance as some newspapers, and, until recently, Which? The latter are now acknowledging the part played by the deficiencies in the NEDC test.
The NEDC test is out of date for car technology and driving habits, and full of flaws in not specifying the tests tightly enough. The EC own the standard and have had nearly 20 years to both update it and tighten it up – many of those years in full knowledge of its weaknesses. That is why I put most of the blame for the disparity between test emissions (and mpg) and real life.
The information I have is that up to 10% of the 30% reduction in emissions could be down to exploiting the weaknesses if they were all used. But no evidence that manufacturers have used all the weaknesses.
The standard gives artificial results and, as the EC point out, its objective is to make comparisons between vehicles. Not to claim real life results. So if each manufacturer exploited the weaknesses in the test to the maximum the results would still enable comparisons to be made.
You accuse the manufacturers of “cheating”. I accuse the EC of incompetence and the numbers I have found make them the most significant culprit.
Let us hope we can move on to pressing for the WLTP and RDE tests to be properly finalised and introduced, and let’s point people at drivers websites to find real life average mpg. I see that as constructive.

No Malcolm – The manufacturers that are modifying their cars prior to testing are cheating. I’ve given you a dictionary definition. It does not matter whether the cheating has a 1% or 50% effect on the published figures, it’s still cheating. Cheating must be stopped or it can escalate. It’s no surprise to me that VW have been caught with their software cheat. I hope that we will find out which other companies have been cheating and the VW incident has helped raise awareness of the problem.

I welcome the introduction of the new tests but I will not believe the results unless they are conducted independently of manufacturers. Independent testing is the gold standard and anything else is substandard.

I am disappointed that testing has not kept up with the times but I suspect that this may in part be due to pressure from manufacturers to delay revision of the tests. The tests may be too onerous or the manufacturers may be concerned that they will lose the opportunity to modify vehicles prior to testing. I don’t know.

” So if each manufacturer exploited the weaknesses in the test to the maximum the results would still enable comparisons to be made.” I love a bit of humour. 🙂

I didnt see this. It’s a start in the right direction and they say they support the upgrading of the testing.
As an thought or idea that goes with me
What often happens when there is a cheat in the house is that someone finds out how and jumps on the band wagon.
Their need to cheat is often do or die. This is not perhaps their fault as do or die is not a good situation to be in and not many of us will never experience but it is an all consuming al driving force.
Whilst I dont condone the 2nd cheat and 2 wrongs dont make a right the 2nd cheat is often much more ameanable to the tightening up of the rules to elimate any further 1st cheats.
You will find that time frames will mostly sort out who was first