CARB and US EPA approve final Volkswagen diesel modification to remove defeat devices; marks end of 3-year redesign of >500k vehicles

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have approved emissions modifications for the last remaining Volkswagen (VW) vehicles containing undisclosed software which deliberately shut down emission control equipment (defeat devices). The legal process began in 2015 and eventually involved more than a half million... Read more →


The California Air Resources Board (CARB) announced that greenhouse gas emissions in California in 2016 fell below 1990 levels for the first time since emissions peaked in 2004—a reduction roughly equivalent to taking 12 million cars off the road or saving 6 billion gallons of gasoline a year. Under Assembly... Read more →


Audi presents results of diesel assessment to KBA

Following the conclusion of internal technical analyses of all its V TDI engines, Audi has passed on its essential findings to the German Federal Motor Vehicle Transport Authority (Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt, KBA) as the responsible authority. The details will be discussed over the coming weeks. For current models with third-generation V6 TDI... Read more →


The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt issued a proposed rule under the Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS) program that would set the minimum amount of renewable fuels that must be supplied to the market in calendar year 2019, as well as the biomass based diesel volume standard for... Read more →


Growth Energy estimates 2,800 retail sites in US to offer E15 by 2021; 350M new ethanol gallons annually

More than 2,800 retail sites will offer E15 by 2021, generating approximately 350 million new ethanol gallons annually, according to a one-pager released by biofuel trade association Growth Energy. The report touts the accomplishments of Prime the Pump, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping build the infrastructure and distribution of... Read more →


EPA approves bio-isobutanol as gasoline additive at up to 16 vol %

EPA has approved the registration of bio-isobutanol as a gasoline additive at up to 16 vol % after reviewing and taking comment on the application of Butamax Advanced Biofuels, LLC. (Earlier post.) Butamax, a manufacturer of bio-isobutanol, submitted an application pursuant to the regulations at 40 CFR Part 79, Registration... Read more →


Braunschweig public prosecutor levies €1B fine against Volkswagen AG over diesel crisis; Volkswagen accepts fine, admits responsibility

The Braunschweig, Germany public prosecutor issued an administrative order against Volkswagen AG in the context of the diesel crisis. The administrative order provides for a fine of €1 billion (US$1.2 billion) in total, consisting of the maximum penalty as legally provided for of €5 million and the disgorgement of economic... Read more →


The California ARB has released the draft summary of its proposed Innovative Clean Transit (ICT) regulation (earlier post) for review and comments. Staff will be discussing this concept at a public workshop being held today. The proposed ICT regulation includes a transition to zero-emission technologies while enhancing transit services. The... Read more →


Recent moves by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) have signaled a strong determination by the sanctioning body to strictly enforce a tightening of marine fuel low-sulfur regulations, which will result in a period of huge upheaval in global oil markets, extraordinary margins for some oil refiners, and a potential doubling... Read more →


Scientists from Emory University, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the California Air Resources Board teamed to analyze satellite data to determine the 15-year trend of PM2.5 pollution in the state. PM2.5 is especially burdensome in California and accounts for the greatest percentage of health impacts attributable to air pollution. The... Read more →


The California Air Resources Board (CARB) approved a plan to mitigate statewide harm from more than 10,000 tons of smog-causing pollutants released in the state due to Volkswagen’s (VW) use of illegal “defeat devices” in diesel passenger cars. The National VW Environmental Trust provides California with $423 million for this... Read more →


Californians for Zero Emission Vehicles (CalZEV), a coalition of public health, environmental and electric vehicle industry organizations, announced its strong support for the Innovative Clean Transit (ICT) measure currently before the California Air Resources Board (CARB). Under the proposal (earlier post), California transit agencies would be required to purchase 100%... Read more →


UK government launches new clean air strategy; ending sales of conventional diesel and gasoline LDVs by 2040

UK Environment Secretary Michael Gove published a new Clean Air Strategy to cut air pollution backed up through new primary legislation. The UK said it will go further and faster than the EU in reducing human exposure to particulate matter pollution. These proposals are in addition to the government’s £3.5-billion... Read more →


European Commission proposes 15% reduction in CO2 for new heavy-duty trucks by 2025, indicative target of 30% by 2030

In the third set of measures designed to implement the “Europe on the Move” goals of modernizing the transport system, the European Commission is proposing a 15% reduction in new heavy-duty truck CO2 emissions by 2025 from 2019 levels. For 2030, the Commission proposed an indicative reduction target of at... Read more →


Study finds rising emissions of ozone-depleting CFC-11, banned by Montreal Protocol

Emissions of one of the chemicals most responsible for the Antarctic ozone hole are on the rise, despite an international treaty that required an end to its production in 2010, a new study by researchers at NOAA and their colleagues shows. Trichlorofluoromethane (CFC-11) is the second-most abundant ozone-depleting gas in... Read more →


Study finds attribute-based fuel economy standards less effective and more costly than flat standard with credit trading

As the Trump administration weighs how to revise fuel economy standards, a new study by research fellows of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) finds that attribute-based regulations—such as the footprint-based rules in the US—are less effective and more costly than a flat standard with credit trading. At the... Read more →


Cedars-Sinai study finds prolonged exposure to coarse PM in LA Basin air led to genetic changes in rat brains

Prolonged exposure to coarse particulate matter (PM2.5–10) in air pollution in the Los Angeles Basin triggered inflammation and the appearance of cancer-related genes in the brains of rats, a Cedars-Sinai study has found. Previous research has documented the association between air pollution and a variety of diseases, including cancer. This... Read more →


With the market launch of the new A-Class (earlier post), the new diesel engines from Mercedes-Benz are now available from the compact class to the luxury class. With these engines, Mercedes-Benz vehicles achieve average NOx emissions of between 40 and 60 mg/km over many thousands of kilometers of driving on... Read more →


California ARB readying regulatory options to maintain state LDV GHG standards in event of Federal change

In April 2018, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) completed the Midterm Evaluation (MTE) process for the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards for cars and light trucks for model years 2022-2025, and determined that the current standards are not appropriate and should be revised. (Earlier post.) The California Air Resources... Read more →


US charges former CEO of Volkswagen AG Winterkorn with conspiracy and wire fraud in diesel emissions scandal

A US federal indictment is charging Martin Winterkorn, the former chairman of the management board of Volkswagen AG (VW), with conspiracy and wire fraud in connection with VW’s cheating on US diesel vehicle emissions requirements. The FBI and EPA Criminal Investigation Division are investigating the case. The superseding indictment was... Read more →


NOx emissions have not been decreasing as expected in recent years (2011–2015) when comparing top-down estimates from satellites and surface NO2 measurements to the trends predicted from the US Environmental Protection Agency’s emission inventory data, according to a new study by an international team of researchers. In an open-access paper... Read more →


US imports of biomass-based diesel, which include biodiesel and renewable diesel, totaled 14.1 million barrels in 2017, a 36% decrease from 2016, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). Although increasing Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) targets have driven increased biomass-based diesel demand in recent years, imports fell in 2017... Read more →


A team at the University of Denver has measured the emissions from two in-use California heavy-duty truck fleets—at the Port of Los Angeles and the Cottonwood weigh station in Northern California—using the On-Road Heavy-Duty Measurement System in 2013, 2015 and 2017. A report on their findings is published in the... Read more →


CARB cracks down on Low Carbon Fuel Standard violators; $785K in penalties for three companies

Three energy companies have agreed to fines totaling $785,000 following investigations by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). All three companies violated provisions of the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). SK Energy Americas agreed to a $395,000 penalty for failure to meet the carbon intensity target for 2014. Alon USA... Read more →


The Environmental Protection Agency is not sufficiently protecting the environment

Opinion by Michael Sivak The mission of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is to protect human health and the environment. However, as the EPA is getting ready to relax the future vehicle fuel economy standards, the time is right to consider whether, under the current administration, this agency’s mission is,... Read more →


New regulations to double the use of sustainable renewable fuels in UK by 2020; 12.4% minimum blend by 2032

New biofuel targets that came into force in the UK over the weekend (15 April 2018) will double the use of renewable fuels in the UK transport sector within 15 years, cutting the sector’s reliance on imported diesel. Changes to the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) will compel owners of... Read more →


The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) reports that the Marine Environment Protection Committee of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has adopted a resolution codifying an initial greenhouse gas (GHG) strategy for international shipping. This strategy, which represents the first global climate framework for shipping, includes quantitative GHG reduction targets... Read more →


Researchers measure actual CO2 emissions from fossil fuel use and compare to reported levels

Researchers have measured CO2 emissions from fossil fuel use in California and compared them to reported emissions. This is the first time fossil fuel emissions have been independently checked for such a large area. The team of researchers, led by researchers from Imperial College London (ICL), developed a technique to... Read more →


EPA: GHG emissions standards for cars and light trucks should be revised; joint process with NHTSA (updated with more reactions)

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt announced the completion of the Midterm Evaluation (MTE) process for the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards for cars and light trucks for model years 2022-2025, and his final determination that the current standards are not appropriate and should be revised. Administrator... Read more →


Study finds between 87 to 98% of ships following the new sulfur regulations in northern Europe

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology have shown that between 87 and 98 percent of ships comply with the tougher regulations for sulfur emissions that were introduced in northern Europe in 2015. The lowest levels of compliance were observed in the western part of the English Channel and in the... Read more →


CALSTART survey finds major automotive suppliers see current CAFE standards as beneficial; 82% see BEVs as most important post-2025

Major automotive suppliers see current national fuel economy standards as a boon for company job growth and industry investment and don’t want to see them altered by policymakers, according to the findings of an annual survey commissioned by CALSTART, an automotive technology industry group. The Environmental Protection Agency is expected... Read more →


ICCT: decline in diesel sales will have negligible impact on attainment of European CO2 emission standards

The current decline is ales of diesel light duty vehicle in Europe does not put EU CO2 targets out of reach of automakers, according to a new analysis by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT). Other technologies—such as efficiency improvements in gasoline engines as well as the rollout of... Read more →


Australian study finds VW diesel using up to 14% more fuel in real world driving after emissions upgrade

Emissions analysis commissioned by the Australian Automobile Association (AAA) has found an affected VW diesel vehicle to be using up to 14% more diesel after being recalled for the mandated emissions system fix. Conducted in partnership with the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the real world testing was commissioned to... Read more →


European Commission publishes draft proposal to tighten up car emissions testing

The European Commission has opened a public consultation on a draft proposal further to improve the quality of car emissions tests to ensure more reliable results and rebuild consumer confidence. New and improved car emissions tests have been mandatory since 1 September 2017: tests in real driving conditions (“Real Driving... Read more →


Average CO2 emissions generated by new cars in Europe increased during 2017—the first rise in 10 years—according to a new analysis by JATO Dynamics. Covering 23 European markets, the study found that average CO2 emissions increased by 0.3 g/km in 2017, finishing at 118.1 g/km. This rise in average CO2... Read more →


German Federal Administrative Court rules diesel bans in cities possible

In a highly anticipated decision, the German Federal Administrative Court (Bundesverwaltungsgericht) in Leipzig has ruled that cities can ban highly polluting diesel cars if necessary to achieve NO2 emission limits. The verdict of the Bundesverwaltungsgericht—one of the five German federal supreme courts and the court of last resort for administrative... Read more →


The UK automotive industry warned that the current anti-diesel agenda combined with the ongoing slow take-up of electric vehicles could mean industry misses its next round of CO2 targets in 2021, with negative consequences for the UK’s own climate change goals. The warning came as a new report published by... Read more →


Xinhua reports that China’s State Administration of Grain (SAG) said that China will expand production and consumption of bioethanol fuel this year as the country seeks more channels to use corn and grain stockpiles. Years of government support for corn farmers—paying Chinese corn producers more than twice the international price... Read more →


Study finds rapid increases in nitrogen oxides may be as harmful to the heart as sustained levels

Rapid increases in pollution may be as harmful to the heart as sustained high levels, according to new research published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. The authors urgently call for confirmatory studies as even residents of clean air cities could be at risk. There is longstanding evidence that... Read more →


Israel’s Ministry of Environmental Protection (MoEP) and Haifa Municipality have begun operating a low-emission zone (LEZ). As of 2 February 2018, polluting heavy diesel vehicles were no longer allowed in downtown Haifa. These buses and trucks must install a particulate filter in order to enter the restricted area. The creation... Read more →


IMO sub-committee moving forward on prohibiting carriage of high-sulfur fuel oil

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR) has agreed to move forward with a prohibition on the carriage of high-sulfur fuel oil for use on board ships, when that fuel oil is not compliant with a new low-sulfur limit which comes into force from 2020.... Read more →


Marine shipping fuels will get cleaner in 2020 when a regulation by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) requires a decrease in the allowable amount of sulfur in fuel oil from 3.5% to 0.5%—i.e., from 35,000 parts per million (ppm) to 5,000 ppm. This marks the most significant improvement in global... Read more →


Next 10 report finds California will meet or exceed original target of 1.5M ZEVs by 2025

A newly released analysis produced by Beacon Economics for the nonprofit, nonpartisan think-tank Next 10 has found that California’s zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) market is on track to meet or exceed a target of 1.5 million ZEVs on California’s roads by 2025. The 1.5-million target, set by California Governor Brown in... Read more →


California Governor orders 5M ZEV target for 2030; more hydrogen fueling and EV charging stations

California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today signed executive order B-48-18, directing all State entities to work with the private sector and all appropriate levels of government to put at least 5 million zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) on California roads by 2030. Brown had mentioned the 5-million target in his State... Read more →


IMechE report calls for new Clean Air Act in UK

A new report by the UK-based Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) calls for urgent action to tackle the damage to health caused by air pollution. Health problems range from slowing the proper development of children’s lungs through to respiratory and cardiovascular diseases among the elderly. A 2016 report by the... Read more →


Québec issues final regulations for ZEV mandate; in effect 11 January 2018; targeting ~10% ZEVs and LEVs by 2025

Québec Minister of Sustainable Development, the Environment, and the Fight Against Climate Change Isabelle Melançon has issued the final regulations in support of Bill 104 – An Act to increase the number of zero-emission motor vehicles in Québec in order to reduce greenhouse gas and other pollutant emissions. (Earlier post.)... Read more →


Study finds Leipzig Low Emission Zone removed most dangerous particles; NOx remained nearly constant

Leipzig’s Low Emission Zone was established in March 2011, allowing only access of Euro 4 and higher diesel vehicles, with few exceptions. A joint scientific study by the Saxon State Office of the Environment, Agriculture and Geology (LfULG) and the Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research (TROPOS) has found that the... Read more →


EU Council of Ministers adopts position on Renewable Energies Directive; bumps renewables in transport to 14% in 2030

The EU Council has adopted its position on a directive promoting the use of renewable energy across the EU. This agreement paves the way for the Council to start negotiations with the European Parliament as soon as it agrees on its negotiating mandate. The EU is committed to reach a... Read more →


California Air Resources Board approves $663M funding plan for clean cars, trucks, buses

The California Air Resources Board approved a $663-million low-carbon transportation plan to increase the use of clean cars, heavy-duty trucks, buses and freight equipment. The funding will help the state cut climate-changing gases while promoting technologies that reduce harmful diesel emissions, particularly in disadvantaged and low-income communities. These investments support... Read more →


European Parliament, Council and Commission reach agreement on vehicle type-approval; EU oversight

Last week, the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission reached a political agreement to raise the quality level and independence of vehicle type-approval and testing; to increase checks of cars that are already on the EU market; and to strengthen the overall system with European oversight. Under current rules,... Read more →