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5,000 deaths annually from dieselgate in Europe

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Excess emissions from diesel cars cause about 5,000 premature deaths annually across Europe, a new study shows.

Since the late 1990s the share of diesel cars in the EU has risen to around 50% in the fleet, with important variations between countries. There are now more than 100 million diesel cars running in Europe, twice as many as in the rest of the world together. Their NOxemissions are however 4 to 7 times higher on the road than in official certification tests. Modern engine controls have been optimized by manufacturers for the specific laboratory testing but underperform in real-driving. In this new study, researchers at IIASA and the Norwegian Meteorological Institute have calculated the premature deaths from these excess NOx emissions for the population in all European countries.

Health effect estimates                                    
About 425,000 premature deaths annually are associated with the current levels of air pollution in EU28, Norway and Switzerland. More than 90% of these premature deaths are caused by respiratory and cardiovascular diseases related to exposure to fine particulate matter. NOx is a key precursor to this fine particulate matter. This new study estimates that roughly 10,000 premature deaths annually can be attributed to NOx emissions from diesel cars, vans and light commercial vehicles. About half--around 5,000 premature deaths annually--are due to NOx emissions being much higher than limit values in real-world driving. Petrol cars have much lower emissions.

“If diesel car emissions were as low as petrol car emissions, three quarters or about 7,500 premature deaths could have been avoided” says IIASA researcher Jens Borken-Kleefeld.

Continue reading at International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis.

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