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A bunch of EU/university researchers found, published in 2011
"On-road carbon dioxide emissions surpass laboratory emission levels by 21 ± 9%, suggesting that the current laboratory emissions testing fails to accurately capture the on-road emissions of light-duty vehicles. Our findings provide the empirical foundation for the European Commission to establish a complementary emissions test procedure for light-duty vehicles.”
This study was on ALL manufacturers, not just VW
The Barroso-era Commissioner responsible, Janez Potočnik, said this, also in March 2011
"I said I also wanted to talk about urban air quality. The reasons for poor air quality in our cities are well known. There are more of them, than I could cover in one speech. The short version is that the main culprits are industry, transport, energy production, agriculture and households. Particulate Matter, Nitrogen dioxide and ozone are the main causes of concern with regard to health. (...) One problem worth mentioning is certainly also the discrepancy between what we call "real world emissions" and the emissions under the standards. In recent years, there is increasing evidence that diesel cars, vans, buses and lorries have higher emissions under real driving conditions than those prescribed by legislation. This applies to newer EUROV/5 vehicles as well as to EURO III and IV. These differences can be enormous – in some cases up to 500% of the limit value in the type approval.
We anticipate that the same will be the case for EUROVI/6 should we not be able to resolve this gap between the objective in the legislation and the amount emitted in reality. The result would be that a big part of the predicted air quality improvements expected through its introduction would be simply wiped out. (…)
The Commission has recognised these problems and has already taken some action. In the Communication on Clean and Energy Efficient Cars, from April 2010, my colleague Antonio Tajani proposed how we could rectify this situation. This included the development of a new, global, and more realistic test cycle, the introduction of additional off-cycle tests, so-called portable emission measurement systems, and the introduction of anti-tampering provisions. For heavy-duty vehicles, these are now part of the type-approval legislation for EUROVI. For cars, I am working closely with Vice-President Tajani to ensure that the necessary technical developments are completed by 2013.”