By David Connett Massive levels of pollution are being emitted by diesel vehicles built by a wide range of carmakers, according to tests carried out by one of the world's biggest independent motoring organizations. The findings are a further blow to the car industry already reeling from revelations that Volkswagen fitted vehicles with software that deceived US regulators about pollution from their diesel engines.
There is a growing awareness that conventional hybrids and slow-selling battery cars simply won’t be enough to meet rigid EU emissions limits.
Among those showing off new ideas at the Geneva car show this week, Volkswagen presented its diesel-electric XL1 – a low-slung two-seater that burns less than a litre (0.26 U.S. gallons) of fuel per 100 kilometres (62 miles) – while PSA Peugeot Citroen rolled out a compressed-air hybrid.
I pulled into the filling station somewhat reluctantly. It was packed with a parade of cars, SUVs and pickup trucks, each jockeying for their turn to nourish their internal combustion engines with a tank of gasoline. I don’t like waiting. But I did, and after the ordeal I went into the station to buy a cup of coffee.
“What’s going on out there,” I asked the teller, “what’s with all the cars?”
“Don’t know sir,” said the teller, prompting me for my debit card. “Lots of people; I guess they like to drive.”
Canadians continued to snap up record numbers of SUVs and pickup trucks in July, a trend that will make it very difficult for automakers to meet new fuel-efficiency standards outlined by the government last week.
Auto sales hit another all-time monthly high in July, inching up 0.4 per cent to 177,844 units. But the growth was concentrated in light trucks — a category that includes sport utility vehicles, crossovers and pickups — which gained 8.2 per cent while car sales declined 10.3 per cent, according to data compiled by DesRosiers Automotive Consultants.
Diesel engines, long reputed for being loud and dirty, are making waves in the U.S. Although they accounted for just 3.2% of U.S. auto sales in 2012 (about the same as hybrids), the number of diesels on American roads will double by 2018, according to research firm LMC Automotive.
In July 2011, the Obama administration announced the new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards that will begin taking effect in 2017. The standards for U.S. light-duty vehicle fleets (passenger vehicles and light-duty trucks) will be 54.5 miles per gallon (mpg) by 2025, and they piggyback on the 2009 mandate for a CAFE average of 35.5 mpg by 2016, up from 27.3 mpg in 2011.
Not long ago, the Obama Administration raised the federal fuel efficiency standards, known as CAFE, to an average 35.5 mpg by 2016. Yesterday, they announced the CAFE were being raised again to historically high levels. For model year 2025, the average fuel economy for cars and light-duty trucks will be set at 54.5 mpg. This will mean a nearly doubling of fuel efficiency compared to cars that are on the road today. The new policy was issued by the US Department of Transportation (DOT) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).