Best-Selling Diesels Pump Out Dangerous Emissions, Study Claims

Some of the best-selling modern diesel powered cars are exploiting a legal loop hole to pump out levels of pollution that endanger the lives of urban dwellers.

That’s the claim being made by automotive clean-air lobby group Transport and Environment which says its study, commissioned from Ricardo, shows two Euro 6 compliant vehicles, the Nissan Qashqai and the Vauxhall Astra as the second and fourth top selling cars in their segments, emit total particulate pollution nearly 200% above the normal legal limit. The spike in pollution occurs when the vehicle’s air emission monitoring software carries out a regular particulate filter cleaning or regeneration process, roughly every 300 miles.

However, carmakers can let this process be activated, which will happen even on congested city roads, because WLTP emission testing excludes the process from the vehicles’ official test results. The study claims its own tests showed both models emitted particulates 32%-115% higher than the normal legal limit during the cleaning process.

When measuring for the smallest, ‘ultrafine’ particulates not yet covered by official testing, the study alleges both cars’ total particulate emissions increased by 11-184%. The group claims the ultrafine particulates pose the greatest risk to human health because they can penetrate deep into the lungs and blood stream and claim a link to lung and brain cancer.

The study concluded that when the cleaning process begins, it can last up to nine miles of city driving and result in the vehicles emitting 1,000 more pollution than their normal officially assessed levels.

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