Automotive and Petroleum Refining Industry: Open Letter on Diesel to EU Policy Makers

Posted on 08/07/2015 in News

Dear EU policymaker,

European vehicle manufacturers and their suppliers, in cooperation with the refining industry, lead the world in the development of state-of-the-art diesel engine technology. We have introduced high-efficiency diesel engines and diesel particulate filters that eliminate almost all particle emissions from the exhaust tailpipe. The very latest generation of diesel technology combines clean diesel fuel, advanced engines and effective emissions control mechanisms.

The undersigned, leading representatives of the automotive and petroleum refining industry in Europe, will keep pushing the technical boundaries in order to find ever better ways of combining the customer benefits of diesel – in terms of fuel economy and low CO2 – with continuously reduced emissions.

Since 1992, the EU has introduced increasingly stricter limits on vehicle emissions through a series of ‘Euro’ standards, and the industry has played its part by demonstrating technical feasibility as a basis for those standards. The latest and most stringent of these standards is Euro 6. New car types already comply with Euro 6, and from 1 September 2015, all new cars sold will have to meet this standard. Criticisms that Euro 5 cars fail to deliver real-world improvements compared to the laboratory test cycle conditions are also being addressed. Euro 6 will require real-world emissions testing of cars for the first time. The automotive industry is actively supporting these developments.

Technical innovation has helped progressively to lower vehicle emissions – over the last 15 years, NOx limits for diesel engines have been reduced by 84%, and particulates by 90%.

Diesel cars, having significantly lower CO2 emissions per kilometre, are essential to manufacturers’ efforts to reach the EU’s 2021 CO2 fleet average targets and thereby help reduce road transport CO2 emissions and mitigate climate change. With continuing efficiency improvement, diesel will continue to be essential in meeting post-2021 targets.

Political measures restricting the rollout of the new generation of diesel technology would therefore undermine existing efforts to cut CO2 emissions. Such measures make no sense from an environmental point of view.

Fleet renewal offers the most effective way to improve air quality. As older cars and trucks are replaced by newer models, emissions from road transport will fall as the latest emission-reducing technologies enter the market. The automotive industry calls on policymakers to help accelerate this fleet renewal and the introduction of the cleanest vehicles. This is particularly important as new vehicles (less than one-year-old) only represent a small fraction of the total current car fleet (some 5%).

With a common EU policy framework that encourages the more rapid adoption of the latest low-emissions technologies, but taking into account necessary industry lead-time, we will help improve air quality in real driving conditions, while at the same time continuing to meet current CO2 targets.

With your support, we will continue to work together to ensure modern diesel remains one of the key pillars in the portfolio of low CO2 technologies for delivering clean, economical and affordable transport for future generations.