California to receive additional $153M in final settlement with Volkswagen

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) filed a consent decree for its final settlement with the Volkswagen Group of America (VW). The company will be required to pay an additional $153.8 million to California over the company’s use of illegal defeat devices in 2009-2016, 2.0 and 3.0 liter diesel passenger... Read more →


US House subcommittee advances autonomous driving legislation; NHTSA to drive regulations, state role diminished

The US House Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection, chaired by Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH), today held a markup to advance bipartisan self-driving legislation. This draft legislation passed out of the subcommittee by voice vote. The legislation clarifies the federal and state roles for regulating highly automated vehicles (HAVs)... Read more →


EPA proposes maintaining current NOx standards

Based on its review of scientific evidence, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposes retaining the current national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for oxides of nitrogen (NOx). EPA proposes that the current NAAQS don’t need to be changed because they provide the appropriate public health protection, with an adequate... Read more →


The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), one of the organizations at the root of uncovering the Volkswagen diesel emission scandal (earlier post), has published a new analysis of developments and trends in advanced diesel engine technology. The ICCT team—John German and Aaron Isenstadt—concluded that diesels have and will retain... Read more →


US charges Audi manager with conspiracy to cheat US emissions tests; sacrificing NOx control for a sound system

The US has charged a former Audi manager via criminal complaint for his role in a conspiracy to defraud US regulators and customers by implementing defeat device software in thousands of Audi diesel vehicles to cheat US emissions tests. Giovanni Pamio, 60, an Italian citizen, is charged with conspiracy to... Read more →


In a new study, a team from the University of Central Florida and MIT has found that the US Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standards is an effective policy solution that does increase the adoption of EVs, whether it is implemented alone or in conjunction with another policy such as... Read more →


ICCT analysis finds 2025 European automotive CO2 standards can be met even if diesel share drops to 15%

Diesel has played a major role in the European Union’s efforts to reduce CO2 emissions from the automotive fleet; the market share of fuel-efficient new diesel cars in the European Union has remained above 50% since 2010. However, in the wake of emission control scandals, increasing concern over NOx-baed air-quality... Read more →


EPA proposes slight ease in 2018 renewable fuel volumes compared to 2017; gearing up for future reset

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a proposed rule setting the minimum amount of renewable fuels that must be supplied to the market in calendar year 2018 under the Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS) program. EPA will issue the final rule in the fall. Relative to the levels finalized in... Read more →


European countries struggle to meet emission limits due to emissions from agriculture and transport

Eleven EU Member States breached air pollution ceilings in 2015 mostly due to high emissions from agricultural and transport sources, according to new data and a briefing released by the European Environment Agency (EEA). The briefing includes information on countries’ 2015 emissions and national ceilings for different pollutants. Member States... Read more →


Volkswagen subsidiary Electrify America last week submitted supplemental information to the California Air Resources Board (ARB) detailing its proposed charging investment in and benefit to underserved, low-income, and disadvantaged communities in the state as part of its court-mandated investment plan. (Earlier post.) The supplement also adds the Fresno metro area... Read more →


Based on its analysis of government responses to the Volkswagen diesel scandal as well as to the ongoing publication of research highlighting the adverse effects of NOx and particulate matter on public health, Lux Research has concluded that the question is when—not if—a diesel ban will happen. Lux Research compiled... Read more →


CIEH criticizes UK gov for shifting air quality problem to local authorities, CAZ strategy; wants vehicle crackdown, more ZEVs, ULEVs

The UK’s Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) has criticized the Government’s air quality plans for unfairly shifting the burden to solve the problem to local authorities, while abdicating themselves of responsibility. The membership body for environmental health professionals released details of its submission to the Government’s consultation on plans... Read more →


Ricardo study provides insights into lean, clean and RDE-compliant gasoline engine technologies

Gasoline engines can operate lean to improve fuel economy, potentially reducing CO2 emissions significantly. Further, advances in combustion development for gasoline have led to the potential for reduced engine-out NOx emissions for homogeneous lean operation compared to stratified lean operation. However, NOx emissions control at the tailpipe remains a major... Read more →


Study finds air quality models significantly underestimate traffic as source of NOx in Europe

Traffic contributes more to NOx emissions in Europe than previously thought, according to a new study by a team at the University of Innsbruck. Using urban eddy covariance measurements, the researchers found that traffic-related NOx emissions in current operational air quality models can be significantly underestimated by up to a... Read more →


International team uncovers mechanisms of VW, Fiat software defeat device code

An international team of researchers has uncovered the mechanisms of two families of software defeat devices for diesel engines: one used by the Volkswagen Group to pass emissions tests in the US and Europe, and a second found in Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. To carry out the analysis, the team developed... Read more →


Based on a three-year study of toxic and environmentally relevant pollutants from gasoline direct injection (GDI) engines, Swiss researchers have concluded that some GDI engines emit just as many soot particles as unfiltered diesel cars did in the past. Further, the GDI particles carry numerous carcinogenic substances. Based on this... Read more →


US sues Fiat Chrysler over diesel emissions

The Environmental and Natural Resources Division of the US Department of Justice (DOJ-ENRD) has filed a lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler for using software defeat devices in nearly 104,000 Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles (Model Years 2014-2016) with 3.0-liter diesel engines. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had issued... Read more →


European Commission opens infringement procedure against Italy over insufficient action on Fiat Chrysler emission control strategies

The European Commission has launched an infringement procedure against Italy for failure to fulfil its obligations under EU vehicle type-approval legislation with regards to Fiat Chrysler (FCA) automobiles. The Commission sent a letter of formal notice asking Italy to respond to concerns about insufficient action taken regarding the emission control... Read more →


Federal court approves $225M settlement in VW 3.0L diesel case; California receives $66M plus two new VW ZEV models

The Volkswagen Group will pay $225 million, including $66 million to California, for harm resulting from the sale of its 3.0-liter diesel passenger cars that included emissions control “defeat devices,” under partial Consent Decrees (earlier post) approved by a Federal court. In addition, VW will contribute to California’s ZEV market... Read more →


155 businesses and industry groups send letter of support for California LCFS in current and possibly more stringent future forms

As California policymakers consider options to extend the state’s landmark climate change laws to 2030 and beyond, 155 businesses and industry groups sent a letter to California Governor Jerry Brown, Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León, and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon in support of the California Low Carbon Fuel... Read more →


US EPA settles with three trucking companies over California diesel rule; $201K in penalties

The Environmental Protection Agency announced settlements with three companies totaling $201,000 in penalties for violating California’s Truck and Bus Regulation. The companies either failed to install particulate filters on their own heavy-duty diesel trucks or failed to verify that trucks they hired for use in California complied with the state... Read more →


California Assembly weighing integrating air pollution performance into GHG cap-and-trade

The California Assembly is considering a bill (AB-378) that would integrate air quality performance into the state’s greenhouse-gas (GHG) cap-and- trade program. Assembly Bill 378 was proposed by by Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, who heads the Assembly’s Committee on Natural Resources. CNR passed the proposal on Monday. This bill creates a... Read more →


At the 38th International Vienna Motor Symposium this week, Continental is showcasing a 48-volt hybrid diesel vehicle which meets very stringent RDE (real driving emissions) limits on CO2 and NOx. The Continental Super-Clean Electrified Diesel combines electrification-based engine optimization and an electrically heated catalyst integrated in the exhaust aftertreatment system... Read more →


Suzuki, Toshiba and Denso to form JV to produce automotive Li-ion battery packs in India

Suzuki Motor Corporation, Toshiba Corporation, and Denso Corporation have reached basic agreement on establishing a joint venture company for production of automotive lithium-ion battery packs in India, and signed the agreement. The initial capital expenditure will be ¥20 billion (US$184 million). The joint venture company will be capitalized at ¥2... Read more →


Study finds vehicles more important source of urban atmospheric ammonia than farms

Vehicle tailpipes are a more important source of ammonia’s contribution to urban air pollution than is agriculture, according to a study by researchers from the US and China. The paper is published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology. Atmospheric ammonia (NH3) reacts with nitric and sulfuric acids to... Read more →


Mayor of Paris and Chair of C40 Cities Anne Hidalgo and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan announced they are working together to create schemes to score new cars based on their real-world emissions and their impact on air quality and to provide that data in an accurate and accessible form... Read more →


After considering the Advanced Clean Cars Midterm Review (earlier post), the California Air Resources Board voted unanimously on Friday to continue with the vehicle greenhouse gas emission standards and ZEV program for cars and light trucks sold in California through 2025. The action ensures that California and 12 other states... Read more →


On the first day of a two-day board meeting—the second day of which (Friday 24 March) will consider the Advanced Clean Cars Midterm Review—the California Air Resources Board (ARB) took a number of climate and air quality actions. CARB approved the State Strategy for the State Implementation Plan (State SIP... Read more →


With the EPA re-opening its Mid-Term Review of GHG standards for 2022-2025 for light-duty vehicles (earlier post), and with NHTSA yet to weigh in on its Mid-Term evaluation of fuel economy standards for the same period, a team from the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) has published a report... Read more →


In the UK, increasing pressure to reduce the impact of pollution from vehicles has led to growing interest in the introduction of Clean Air Zones and Low Emission Zones. However, such mitigation measures are expensive to design and implement and, while street level air quality monitoring can highlight the problem... Read more →


California ARB staff considering including alternative jet fuel in Low Carbon Fuel Standard

The staff of the California Air Resources Board (ARB) staff is considering including alternative jet fuel (AJF) in the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). ARB staff is hosting a public working meeting today to consider the matter. In 2009, the ARB approved the LCFS regulation to reduce the carbon intensity... Read more →


EPA re-opens Mid-Term Evaluation Process for light-duty vehicle greenhouse gas standards 2022-2025

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced that EPA intends to reconsider its final determination issued on 12 January 2017 which recommended no change to the greenhouse gas standards for light duty vehicles for model years 2022- 2025. (Earlier post.) EPA will reconsider that determination... Read more →


The California Air Resources Board (ARB) has received Volkswagen’s (VW) first 30-month Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Investment Plan. This Plan is The Plan, required by California’s partial settlement with VW over the use of illegal defeat devices, describes how VW is proposing to spend the first $200 million in California... Read more →


California DMV releases proposed rules for driverless autonomous vehicles; hearing on 25 April

The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) released proposed regulations to establish a path for testing and future deployment of fully autonomous vehicles without drivers. The proposed regulations address public safety concerns while recognizing the potential of autonomous technology to improve safety, enhance mobility and encourage innovation. The proposed regulations:... Read more →


Senate bill would enable sales of E15 and higher ethanol blends year round; RVP waiver

US Senators Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) have introduced the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act. The bill would amend the Clean Air Act to extend the Reid vapor pressure (RVP) waiver to ethanol blends above 10%. This would increase market access opportunities for higher... Read more →


Scientists led by a team at Caltech and BP, and in collaboration with researchers at UCLA, ETH Zürich, and China’s Nanjing University, have developed a new method for potentially removing nearly all sulfur compounds (down to ~2 ppm) from gas and diesel fuel. The method uses Earth-abundant materials (potassium (K),... Read more →


European truck manufacturers call for action to prevent aftermarket manipulation of NOx emissions controls

In the wake of a report by the German television station ZDF identifying widespread aftermarket manipulation of NOx emissions control technologies on trucks, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) is calling for government action to preclude such manipulation. The ZDF report, based on research ZDF commissioned at the University of... Read more →


Auto Alliance urges EPA to withdraw premature Final Determination on light-duty GHG regulations, resume Midterm Evaluation process with NHTSA

The Auto Alliance has sent a letter to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt requesting that the US Environmental Protection Agency withdraw the Final Determination on the Appropriateness of the Model Year 2022-2025 Light-Duty Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards under the Midterm Evaluation which EPA announced on 13 January 2017. (Earlier post.)... Read more →


Bosch reaches $327.5M settlement agreement for 2.0L and 3.0L VW diesels in US

Bosch has entered into a settlement agreement with private claimants in the US in order to settle the most substantial part of the civil law proceedings pending in connection with Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche diesel vehicles that were sold in the US. The agreement would settle the claims of consumers... Read more →


Volkswagen reaches settlement agreements with private plaintiffs and US Federal Trade Commission on 3.0L TDI V6 vehicles in US

Volkswagen AG and Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (together, Volkswagen) has reached proposed agreements to resolve outstanding civil claims regarding approximately 78,000 affected 3.0L TDI V6 diesel engine vehicles in the United States. Volkswagen submitted two agreements to the Court for approval: (1) a proposed class settlement with private plaintiffs... Read more →


California ARB releases proposed new plan to cut 2030 GHG by 40% v. 1990; more stringent LCFS, more ZEVs

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) released the proposed scoping plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% below 1990 levels by 2030—the most ambitious target in North America. (Earlier post.) The plan builds on the state’s efforts to reduce emissions and outlines the most effective ways to reach the... Read more →


CARB releases Midterm Review of ZEV regulation, LEV III GHG and PM standards; calls for post-2025 standards

When the California Air Resources Board (ARB) adopted the Advanced Clean Cars (ACC) program in 2012 (earlier post), the agency committed to conduct a comprehensive midterm review of three elements of the program: the zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) regulation; the 1 mg/mi particulate matter (PM) standard; and the light-duty vehicle greenhouse... Read more →


Takata to plead guilty, pay $1B in criminal penalties for airbag scheme; 3 Takata execs indicted

Tokyo-based Takata Corporation, one of the world’s largest suppliers of automotive safety-related equipment, agreed to plead guilty to wire fraud and pay a total of $1 billion in criminal penalties stemming from the company’s fraudulent conduct in relation to sales of defective airbag inflators. An indictment was also unsealed charging... Read more →


Stemming from a major project partially funded with a $9-million grant from the Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) to develop an opposed-piston two-stroke gasoline compression ignition engine (OPGCI) (earlier post), Achates Power announced it is developing a 2.7-liter, 3-cylinder (i.e., six-piston) light-duty version of its opposed piston engine... Read more →


In an expected ruling, US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy finalized her decision to maintain the current greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards for model years 2022-2025 cars and light trucks. (Earlier post.) The EPA says that a wide variety of effective technologies are available to reduce GHG emissions... Read more →


Real-world NOx emissions from new diesel cars could still exceed the Euro 6 emission limit of 80 mg/km by a factor of three or more, even after the new Real-Driving Emissions (RDE) regulation takes effect, according to a new white paper released by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT).... Read more →


EPA and CARB charge Fiat-Chrysler with using undeclared emission control devices in 3.0L diesels

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a notice of violation (NOV) to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. and FCA US LLC (collectively FCA) for alleged violations of the Clean Air Act for installing and failing to disclose at least eight auxiliary emissions control devices (AECDs) in light-duty model year 2014-2016... Read more →


Volkswagen AG agrees to plead guilty and pay $4.3B in criminal and civil penalties; 6 execs and employees indicted

Volkswagen AG has agreed with the US government to resolve criminal and federal environmental and other civil claims against the company relating to the diesel emissions cheating débâcle. As part of the resolution, Volkswagen has agreed to plead guilty to three criminal felony counts, to pay penalties and fines totaling... Read more →


U Chicago study proposes market-based approach to fuel economy standards to deal with impacts of fuel price volatility

Volatile gasoline prices have caused some regulators and carmakers alike to question the cost and effectiveness of current fuel economy standards, with some arguing they are too stringent and others saying they should be even stronger. A new study by Ryan Kellogg, a professor at the University of Chicago Harris... Read more →


EPA and CARB approve emissions modification for Gen 3 VW 2.0 liter diesel vehicles

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (CARB) approveda remedy proposed by Volkswagen that will reduce the excess NOx emissions from the Generation 3 (MY 2015) diesel 2.0 liter vehicles. With the approval, VW can offer vehicle owners the choice to keep and fix their car,... Read more →