Views diverge over benefits of Auto/Oil laws

New vehicle emissions, fuel, standards will achieve German, but not UK, air quality aims

The EU's major package of Auto/Oil legislation setting new standards for vehicle emissions and fuel quality in 2000 and 2005 will achieve air quality objectives in Germany, but not in the UK, government officials said at recent meeting. At the "Future of Transportation Fuel Quality in Europe" conference held in London last week, experts debated the implications of the Auto/Oil package. According to a German representative, the Auto/Oil measures will enable Germany to meet pending EU air quality legislation on nitrogen oxides (NOx), benzene, ozone and carbon monoxide (ENDS Daily 10 September), though further measures will still be needed to bring down concentrations of particulates. However, a UK official predicted that additional measures would be needed in most areas to achieve the air quality standards. Interviewed by ENDS Daily, Axel Friedrich from the German environment agency said Germany was counting on a fast fleet turnover towards cleaner cars. This would be helped by new tax breaks for owners of more environmentally friendly vehicles and increased tax for owners of older, dirtier cars, he said. Along with Scandinavian countries, Germany is pushing for the EU to introduce ambitious targets in a forthcoming legislative proposal on benzene air quality limits (ENDS Daily 10 September).

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