In the wake of the car emissions scandal, Parliament is changing the rules for vehicle approval and market surveillance tests. This means consumers can trust that the cars they buy meet environmental and safety standards.
These are just some of the thousands of cars that Volkswagen had to buy back from American consumers after the 2015 car emissions scandal. Volkswagen had been fitting its cars with an emissions tests cheating device – meaning that millions of cars on the road were far more polluting than indicated. The EU wants to make sure that this doesn't happen again. MEPs are adopting new 'type-approval' rules. This is the process that checks that a vehicle meets safety and environmental standards. Previously a member state could give a type approval; there would be no real check from the Commission or from other member states or from anyone else as to whether that was right. Under this system, there will be checks and balances at each stage in the process. They will also change market surveillance. Member states need to make sure that the proper tests are being carried out. 1 in every 40,000 vehicles registered in that country the year before has to be checked. And at least 20% of the checks have to be emissions-related. This proposal should give consumers the confidence that the cars they buy are exactly what they say they are. The European Commission will assess the tests, and if manufacturers don't follow the rules, they could be fined up to €30,000 – per vehicle. The EU says the money from fines should go towards environmental protection and consumers who have been affected.