Aug. 31 (UPI) -- Starting Friday, all new car models in the European Union need to pass emissions tests in real driving conditions before they hit the road, commissioners said.
The European Commission invited member states to examine emission issues after Volkswagen in 2015 was found to have used software to get around some pollution standards. In response, the commission introduced stricter and more accurate tests for nitrogen oxides and particulate emissions, many of which are responsible for smog and acid rain.
The new tests, which include real-driving conditions, are mandatory starting Friday for all new car models.
"The [Volkswagen] emissions scandal has shown that we need more independence in car testing, stronger market surveillance and the possibility for the commission to intervene in case of wrongdoing," Jyrki Katainen, the European vice president for jobs, growth, investment and competitiveness, said in a statement. "The new emissions tests are a milestone in our ongoing work for cleaner and more sustainable cars over the coming years."
Swedish automotive company Scania and the HAVI transportation group said this week they were coordinating with the McDonald's restaurant chain in several European countries to reduce their carbon footprint. HAVI through the partnership said it would switch about 70 percent of its fleet to run on alternative fuels like gas-electric hybrids. For deliveries to McDonald's, HAVI added it would monitor its emissions of carbon dioxide continuously and in real time.
The transportation sector accounts for more than half of the energy-related emissions of carbon dioxide, a potent greenhouse gas. In addition to new testing, the European Commission said it was focusing on encouraging the deployment of low-emission vehicles and the electrification of rail transport.
"A quick shift to zero emissions vehicles is in all our interest given the public health and environmental risks at stake," Elżbieta Bieńkowska, a commissioner in charge for market entrepreneurship, said in a statement. "And it's crucial for the car industry if it wants to remain internationally competitive."