“Every major car manufacturer is selling diesel cars that fail to meet EU air pollution limits on the road in Europe.” That’s the conclusion from a European environmental watch dog called Transport & Environment  following a study of European diesel vehicles.

Of these, Volkswagen is among the least polluting, the report finds. Under Euro 6 regulations (the latest legal limits) Volkswagen is at the bottom of the list of polluters, T&E finds.

Euro 6 regulations allow for 0.08g per kilometer of NOx, a pollutant that has been linked to 23,500 early deaths per year in the UK alone, according The Guardian .


While automakers conform to European regulations under testing conditions, T&E argues that these cars exceed NOx limits as soon as they get out onto the road. That’s because the tests don’t account for cold weather, diesel particulate filters cleaning themselves, and more.

As a result, T&E concludes that automakers like Fiat and Suzuki are emitting more than 14 times the legal limit of NOx in Europe.

T&E reasons that one of the major factors behind the excess is cheaper, less effective exhaust treatment systems in cars sold in Europe. In the US, though, the tighter regulations and more rigorous testing means that these same automakers fit better exhaust treatment systems and produce lower emissions.

Transport & Environment is also not giving VW a pass. Volkswagen “has the most grossly polluting Euro 5 vehicles on the road, which ​were sold between 2011 ​​and 20​15,​” they write in a statement.

Despite that, Volkswagen’s latest diesel engines would appear to be among the least polluting on the road today, when it comes to NOx.

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