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UNECE works on global methodology to measure on-road car emissions

Published: 21 June 2018

Reducing the variations between vehicle emissions measured in laboratory and on-road conditions has become an important dimension of efforts to tackle the environmental and health impact of cars.

This comes as the need to improve air quality is gaining increasing recognition, especially in cities, where tackling harmful nitrogen oxides and particulate matter from transport emissions is a particular challenge.

The accurate measurement of emissions is not only essential in ensuring that vehicles meet air pollution limits, but also underpins informed decision-making by consumers based on advertised emissions test results.

New technologies and approaches aiming to measure real driving emissions in a wide variety of driving scenarios and conditions are rapidly progressing.  A number of countries are developing or have already introduced regulatory requirements for real driving emissions tests, based on the work done by the European Union (EU) since 2010. New cars in the EU and Republic of Korea are already approved using this methodology.

At the local level, the C40 network of cities has also developed policies to reduce emissions and provide more realistic consumer information, where harmonized procedures would prove beneficial.

To support the improved coordination of these global efforts, members of UNECE’s World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations have today decided to develop a harmonized procedure to perform real driving emission testing on open roads.

André Rijnders, Chair of the World Forum’s Working Party on Pollution and Energy, welcomed the decision as an important milestone, highlighting that “a harmonized real driving emissions test procedure will centralize expertise and resources for improved emissions measurement. This will also support significant economies of scale across the automotive sector”.

The European Union, Japan and Korea are leading the development of the regulatory text that would lead to the establishment of a United Nations Global Technical Regulation on real driving emissions testing, which is expected to be adopted by 2020. The United States of America, Canada, India and China have also showed support to the initiative and are expected to participate in the development of the regulatory provisions, in a process which is transparent, data-driven and open to inputs from all parties involved.

Note to editors

About the World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations

The World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations, hosted by UNECE, is a unique global platform responsible for the regulatory frameworks regarding the safety and environmental performance of vehicles, their subsystems and parts.

The World Forum manages three Global Agreements on vehicles: 1958 Agreement (UN Regulations); 1998 Agreement (UN Global Technical Regulations); and 1997 Agreement (UN Rules on Periodic Technical Inspections). Any country that is member of the United Nations may participate in the activities of the World Forum and accede to the Agreements.

United Nations Global Technical Regulations (UN GTRs) contain globally harmonized performance-related requirements and test procedures. They provide a predictable regulatory framework for the global automotive industry and consumer associations. They do not contain administrative provisions for type approvals and their mutual recognition.

The Working Party on Pollution and Energy (GRPE) is one of the six subsidiary bodies of the World Forum. It concentrates its work on defining exhaust, energy efficiency and power measurement procedures for all modes of inland transport in order to limit environmental damage. GRPE will be in charge of the development of the UN GTR on real driving emissions testing.

About real driving emissions measurement

New measurement technologies, such as the Portable Emission Measurement System (PEMS), enable the continuous monitoring of the content of exhaust gases while driving on open roads. Progress achieved during the last decade in terms of reliability, compactness and market competition has made it possible for PEMS to be integrated in emissions measurement procedures for light duty vehicles.


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