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Exhaust emissions scandal: VW continues to cheat

According to measurements, FiatChrysler and VW motorhomes exceed the permitted exhaust emission limits many times over. Once again, politicians just stand by and do nothing.

The Emissions Control Institute (EKI) of the German Environmental Aid (DUH) has found that the nitrogen oxide values of Euro 5 and 6 motorhomes are being exceeded by a huge margin. Travellers who opt for motorhomes are often close to nature. But it is precisely these vehicles that are significantly more polluting than stated on paper and permitted according to the limit values. DUH is therefore demanding a recall of the vehicles by Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU).

According to the EKI, a VW T5 2.0 TDI California with emission standard 5 emits on average 1,343 mg/km. The Euro 5 standard allows just 280 mg/km. The Fiat Ducato 130 Multijet Euro 6 performs even worse. It emits an average of 1,520 mg/km, which is more than 12 times the permitted 125 mg/km. At low outside temperatures, emissions even rise to 2,377 mg/km, i.e. about 19 times the permitted nitrogen oxide.

Politicians are just watching. The fact that vehicles emit significantly more exhaust gases at low temperatures is well known and permitted in order to protect the engine. Only recently, the Ministry of Transport postponed the introduction of new emissions tests that would no longer allow such loopholes by two years. After all, the Federal Administrative Court at least ruled yesterday (Monday), following a complaint by the DUH, that the files on the previous diesel scandal from 2015 can no longer be kept under lock and key. Scheuer must now release the data.

Nevertheless, there seems to be hardly any let-up in the trickery and scandals from the car and transport industry. After the previous emissions scandals and the discussions about hybrid cars falsely sold as ecological, now comes the next scandal about nitrogen oxide values that are clearly too high. According to measurements by the German Automobile Association (ADAC), even the size of the boot is being fiddled and the customer is being shown up. The car industry just can't let it go. Apparently, the penalties and the damage to the image of VW and Co. were not big enough in the last scandal.

This also leaves the question of what environmental zones are actually good for. The vehicles that are allowed to enter according to their Euro standard do not comply with it in reality and thus continue to pollute the air in the cities. In France, heavy motorhomes are already classified as lorries in terms of environmental zones. But if they are 10 times dirtier than they are supposed to be, they might not be allowed to enter there and elsewhere. So if the environmental zones and limit values become stricter because the air is still too bad, it is not least the car industry itself that is to blame.

And even the railways, with their long-distance transport powered by green electricity - a comparatively small segment - claim to be greener than they are.

Those who really want to be green on the road can really only rely on themselves, and cycle or walk. When will politics finally intervene to put an end to the trickery?