Europe Might Increase Emissions Standards Again

Nov 15, 2022 2 min read
Europe Might Increase Emissions Standards Again

Is America next?

On November 10, the European Commission proposed even tighter emissions standards, a move many automakers found objectionable. The proposal aims to cut air pollution generated by new internal combustion engine vehicles in a bid to meet the European Green Deal’s zero-pollution goal. However, not everyone is a fan of this recommendation.

This isn’t the first time the EU has gotten aggressive on vehicle emissions, as evidenced here.

While some might claim this move will make new cars even within financial reach for the average consumer, the European Commission said in its official statement the aim is to not only restrict pollution but also to keep “vehicles affordable for consumers and (promote) Europe’s competitiveness.” How exactly those objectives are attained through more aggressive regulation isn’t entirely clear.

Justifying these measures, the European Commission says vehicles are “the largest source of air pollution in cities.” It goes on to claim 70,000 people a year die prematurely thanks to vehicle emissions, three times the number of traffic fatalities. Thus, it’s justifiable to mandate automakers must make internal combustion engines even cleaner to help curb the problem.

Some critics have tried arguing this measure is meaningless since the EU is pushing toward banning new ICE cars. However, proponents point out vehicles stay on the road for some time after they’re sold new, so tightening standards now will create benefits for years to come.

Also included in the proposal are new emissions limits for car brakes and tires. That might sound ridiculous, but as the electrification switch happens, those two items will come under more intense scrutiny.

Some feel this move by Europe will be mimicked in some way by the Biden Administration in the United States. With the prospect of an adversarial Legislative Branch, the White House might find such efforts to be partly hamstrung. That doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen, just that it would have to be done through executive orders or the administration leaning on regulatory agencies. However, recent judiciary actions has started to curb those avenues as well.

Read the proposal for yourself here.

Images via Porsche, Mercedes-Benz

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