Minister demands lower exhaust emissions for diesels

Berlin. German regulators are seeking lower emission levels from diesel vehicles, which now account for 40 percent of all new passenger car registrations in the country.

A new report supporting the move also contains an expert's new claim that, if all diesel vehicles were fitted with particulate filters, the life expectancy for Germans would increase by one to three months.

Environment Minister Juergen Trittin from Germany's Green Party said: "I have launched an initiative to reduce the EU exhaust emission limits for particle and nitrogen oxides emitted by automobile and truck diesel engines."

German Federal Environmental Protection Agency (UBA) President Andreas Troge will present the agency's annual report to Trittin on July 22.

In the study, called Future Diesel, the agency demands a "significant reduction" of emission limits, according to a copy of the report seen by Automobilwoche.

Trittin demands that "the Euro 5 emission standard for diesel engines should be introduced by 2010 at the latest."

According to the UBA, with the Euro 5 standard, the particle limit for automobile diesel engines would be no more than 0.0025 grams per kilometer. That's 10 times less than with the Euro 4 standard, which comes into effect in 2005.

"It's an extremely low figure," said Franz Pischinger, head of the professorship for combustion engines at the RWTH Aachen. "The industry will have to fit particulate filters in order to comply with this standard."

But the Automotive Industry Association (VDA) rejects the proposal of installing particulate filters in all passenger car diesel engines. It says the proposal about the Euro 5 standard is premature.

A VDA spokesman said: "The discussion should not lead to the Euro 4 norm being discredited just because not all vehicles are fitted with particulate filters."

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