“Yeah man I swapped my Camaro’s motor for a lawnmower engine to get more power.” –Future Gearheads.
With all of the downsizing and fun-robbing tech that’s getting added to newer cars, you’d think that we’re getting somewhere in terms of reducing the amount of toxic gases that come out of our tailpipes. This isn’t the case, at least according to the UK’s Department for Transport. The British government has begun retesting diesels in the wake of emissions scandals and the findings are pretty grim. When the UK’s DFT put 37 different diesel cars through real world testing procedures, not a single one of them ended up being compliant with the UK’s emissions laws.
And we know what you’re thinking, but this doesn’t mean that every single automaker is cheating on their emissions testing. What happens is that when modern cars are tested, they are put into laboratories with strictly controlled variables. Engines are put through each exam and the numbers of toxic fumes are measured. The problem is that these laboratory control settings are far from what drivers experience in the real world, meaning that these diesels pollute much more in the streets than what automakers advertise. In fact, in real world settings, the DFT found that on average, diesel cars emitted five times the legal limit of nitrogen oxide compared to what lab tests found.
The worst offenders even spewed out 12 times what the law allows. This number is significant and means that automakers will soon be feeling the pain of even tighter regulations. In the UK, new emissions testing procedures will roll out next year that will reflect real-world driving scenarios. In the US, the EPA is expected to follow suit with its own set of testing procedures. For diesel-shy Americans, this doesn’t mean too much unless these testing methods make their way to gasoline cars, in which case we can expect to see more hybrids and downsized engines aided by turbochargers. This hasn't happened yet though, so now is the time to splurge on a V8. Damn it VW, why’d you have to ruin it for all of us?