Mercedes Hit by Diesel Emissions

October 9, 2015 by Paul Ausick

Diesel cars made by Mercedes-Benz produced an average of 2.2 times more nitrogen oxide emissions than the official Euro 5 standard and 5.0 times higher than the newer Euro 6 standard. Honda Motor Co. Ltd. (NYSE: HMC) diesel cars, on average, emitted between 2.6 and 6.0 times the official standards’ levels, and Mazda’s diesels emitted between 1.6 and 3.6 times the official levels.

The Guardian reported Friday morning that diesel vehicles manufactured by Mercedes-Benz, Mazda, Honda and Mitsubishi all emit “significantly more pollution on the road than in regulatory tests.” The testers found no evidence of a device designed to defeat the tests, as was found with the Volkswagen cars.

The data released Friday morning were reported by a U.K. company called Emissions Analytics, which says that it was formed to “overcome the challenge of finding accurate fuel consumption and emissions figures for road vehicles.” On its website the company notes:

[I]n the European market, we have found that real-world emissions of the regulated nitrogen oxides are four times above the official level, determined in the laboratory. Real-world emissions of carbon dioxide are almost one-third above that suggested by official figures. For car buyers, this means that fuel economy on average is one quarter worse than advertised. This matters, even if no illegal activity is found. These differences may well be explained by limitations in the official system, rather than through illegality.

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Last week The Guardian revealed that diesel vehicles from several manufacturers, including Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (NYSE: FCAU), Renault, Nissan, Hyundai, Citroën and Volvo, also emitted substantially higher levels of pollution when tested in real-world driving conditions, according to research by a German automobile association known as ADAC.

More than half of all passenger vehicles sold in Europe are diesel-powered, compared with less than 5% of all new cars sold in the United States. These revelations are a very big deal for automakers trying to sell diesel cars in the European Union.

A European emissions expert told The Guardian:

These new test results [from Emissions Analytics] prove that the Volkswagen scandal is just the tip of the iceberg. What we are seeing here is a dieselgate that covers many brands and many different car models. The only solution is a strict new test that takes place on the road and verified by an authority not paid by the car industry.

It was inevitable that the emissions cheating scandal with Volkswagen’s diesel cars would lead to more testing of diesel-powered cars and light trucks. It was also highly likely that Volkswagen wouldn’t be the only company whose cars exceeded pollution limits in real-world driving. Done and done.

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