back to article Dodge this: Fiat-Chrysler gets diesel-fuelled sueball from DoJ

Fiat-Chrysler, accused of the same kind of software defeat as landed Volkswagen in hot water, is now the subject of a Department of Justice lawsuit. The case, brought by the DoJ on behalf of America's Environmental Protection Agency, points to vehicles around 104,000 "light duty vehicles" using the company's three-litre …

Anonymous Coward

Wake me up when we get to the point

When Corporate abuses earn jail time not theft of shareholder value through cozy fines... Oh no that's socialism or something!

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And they're not alone

Mercedes has announced they're pulling all diesels in US passenger cars for 2017 (they will not even try to certify them) and have warned that there MAY be fallout from the regulators in the future.

That said, I expect all manufacturers have some kind of 'undisclosed' software in their cars, diesels and gas engines, that do funky stuff under certain conditions. For example for those driving 5000 miles a year, of which 3500 are in - say - downtown Las Vegas rush hour traffic who insist on driving diesels.

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Anonymous Coward

Fiat-Chrysler?

Just as well nobody is buying that brand these days...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Fiat-Chrysler?

You may have failed to notice that, together Mercedes, they had the largest increase in Europe in the past months.... (+13%).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Fiat-Chrysler?

There's only one (working) JEEP

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Pirate

Re: Fiat-Chrysler?

First Daimler-Chrysler THE NAZI's: Now FIAT-Chrysler THE FASCISTS. When I was young I made the mistake to buy a FIAT. It bankrupted me since it always broke down. When I retired I made the mistake to buy a Mercedes Benz. It bankrupted me again since it was far too dangerous to drive. I had to declare it not roadworthy and take it of the road on my own cost. A pity Chrysler allowed themselves to become contaminated. I hope people will really TOTALLY stop to buy Nazi and Fascist cars.

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Trump will fix it

As they say in the White House... The best things in life go unobserved.

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The UK tested a range of cars, the only ones who were within the tolerance of emissions set out by the manufacturers were BMW. Land Rover were really bad, nearly 100 times as polluting as what they said the car would do.

The Peugeot 3008 was a big offender, much more polluting than the Range Rover. Doesn't surprise me, I'm stick with one of those hateful cars and it's a big bag of shite anyway.

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Have you a reference, please?

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What has teaken so long??

Especially as the original report that launched the VW scandal pointed out that one of the other car brands tests produced more emissions than the VW and ALL the other cars tested combined.

I also wonder at the very small number of cars being quoted, didnt the VW case have VW talking about a tiny number of a specific engine.

Finally, lets be brutally honest, our government KNEW the emissions claims were a crock of shit decades ago; that is why diesel engine emissions arent properly tested during the annual MOT; it doesnt matter how huge that cloud of shit you see coming out the back of that rep mobile or SUV is, it will pass an MOT..

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Who's next in line with qualitay "cheatware" fitted to cars?

May be the slow death of diesels in light cars (except for big trucks and buses).

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It's not just diesels

There is a trend towards small turbocharged petrol engines that do 65MPG+ according to the makers, Ford's EcoBoost and Peugeot's Puretech being two of the most well known ones.

While quite impressive tech (125BHP out of a 3cyl 1 litre engine that will fit on A4 paper) the 65MPG figure is complete bollocks, most owners struggle to get just over 1/2 that.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's not just diesels

the problem is not that they consume more because the cycle is wrong.

The problem is that they pollute a lot more because they wanted so save money, as BMW proves.

I have long said that the pollution levels in London, for example, prove withoud doubt that large diesel engines, in this case, buses, emmit SEVERAL times the max ammount of NOx permitted, as streets with only buses demonstrate. No doubt about it.

While an engineer, I work with electronics and programming, not engines (mereley and entusiast here), so I have no doubt that this did not go unniticed to people that know more than me about it.

The governments have done nothing to prevent this, on the contrary, they have stonewalled attempts to test the engines on the roads.. while cheap sensors have been available for more than 15 years. I have a design (for other purposes) that can detect the NOx levels.. and the whole thing costs 300£, screen included.

So lets define de Euro norm as to what it is: an artificial trade barrier, that the governments are happy to mantain, but they dont care if millions of people die because the pollutions levels are not mantained because the rules are avoided.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's not just diesels

While quite impressive tech (125BHP out of a 3cyl 1 litre engine that will fit on A4 paper) the 65MPG figure is complete bollocks, most owners struggle to get just over 1/2 that.

That depends on how accurate the claim is, and the the duty cycle that the owner puts the car through. If they're lead-booted, or drive mostly on congested stop-start routes, I wouldn't expect them to come near the combined average. My Skoda Octavia has a similar tech 1.4 turbocharged petrol claiming 150 PS, the official combined single figure MPG is 54, and I get a long term average of about 53.

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Re: It's not just diesels

"While quite impressive tech (125BHP out of a 3cyl 1 litre engine that will fit on A4 paper) the 65MPG figure is complete bollocks, most owners struggle to get just over 1/2 that."

A given amount of fuel is required to produce a given amount of power. It doesn't matter if you're using a 5.0 V8 turning at 2K rpm or a 1.0L 3 cyl turning at 10K rpm, all other things being equal the same amount of fuel will be required. Of course all other things arn't equal - the 3cyl will have less frictional and induction loses and will weigh less which all adds up to improved fuel consumption. The downside is that its under MUCH higher stress and will probably develop faults far sooner than a less stressed engine. Also an engine turbocharged to within an inch of its life tends to have nasty vertical torque and power curves which don't make for pleasent driving and at lower rpm before you hit the slope its utterly gutless.

Personally I'd sooner have a larger engine that will be problem free longer and is nicer to drive and suffer a few less mpg as a consequence.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's not just diesels

"large diesel engines, in this case, buses, emmit SEVERAL times the max ammount of NOx permitted, as streets with only buses demonstrate. No doubt about it"

From what I've read buses and lorries are a comparatively small part of the problem becuase emissions testing on them is actual done in "real world conditions" as opposed to cars which are done on specific "testing conditions" with result that a car can be much more poluuting in "real life" than a bus or lorry.

"lets define de Euro norm as to what it is: an artificial trade barrier, that the governments are happy to mantain"

... but also to some extent the sudden concentration on VW diesels in the US was a means of halting the growth of diesel powered cars in the US that weren't being produced by US manufacturers

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Re: It's not just diesels

@AC yup , for example Popular Volkswagen Polo more polluting than a lorry

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Meh

Re: It's not just diesels

I dunno.. doesn't it depend on how they drive it?

My Mito has a 1.4 turbo @170 BHP and claims >50mpg I often drive it like I stole it and I still average 48/49 MPG

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's not just diesels

Also an engine turbocharged to within an inch of its life tends to have nasty vertical torque and power curves which don't make for pleasent driving and at lower rpm before you hit the slope its utterly gutless.

Maybe for some cars, but as the Octavia-driving AC, I'd like to say that your comments don't apply to my petrol turbo, and they seem more reminiscent of the crude diesel turbos from twenty years ago.

Of all the cars I've ever owned, this Skoda has the best engine I've every had, including much larger engines, sportier engines, and much more expensive cars both owned, borrowed and hired. The VW group 1.4 TSI 150 is quite remarkably smooth, quiet, responsive, pulls strongly from very low revs and just keeps the torque going right round the rev counter. For a mid-range 1.5 tonne family estate it goes like stink.

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Re: It's not just diesels

From what I've read buses and lorries are a comparatively small part of the problem becuase emissions testing on them is actual done in "real world conditions"

Bwahahahahahahahaha! That explains why the air on Oxford Street is so shitty and filthy - it's because somebody in a VW Polo took a wrong turn and entered the bus lane!

I used to work for a company making trucks, and can assure you that the HGV makers play the testing system as required. If you think that these larger vehicles are in any sense clean, or more compliant then you have been had.

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Re: It's not just diesels

I have a VW Polo 4 cylinder turbo, for which the manufacturer figures are 59mpg. I get about 55 but this drops to about 45 with the air conditioning on and the engine stop/start turned off (Otherwise the aircon turns itself off when the engine turns itself off when stationary at traffic lights etc.). YMMV - I am an old fart, and I drive like one.

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Re: It's not just diesels

"the 65MPG figure is complete bollocks, most owners struggle to get just over 1/2 that."

It may depend on the drivers. Our company cars, using identical models/age, had an mpg variation in normal use of 43 to 62 mpg. Some cars were swapped around, best mpg cars to worst mpg drivers and vice versa. Guess what? Within a small variation, the mpg numbers followed the drivers, not the cars.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's not just diesels

Well of course, they investigated VW because they are foreign in the US!

As for the buses.. I dont care what they say. Oxford Street is a very clear example. Tends to be the most polluted street in the world, and only buses go there.

The solution has been to use electric and nat gas vehicles.

https://www.timeout.com/london/blog/pollution-on-oxford-street-has-dropped-by-a-third-in-12-months-011717

Emissions "in real conditions" are only part of the tests in EURO VI

https://www.dieselnet.com/standards/eu/hd.php

Now, even with that, you can provide a vehicle with different SW than the one you sell.

As for the standards, you can pollute as much as you want outside 2-30C , that means in the south of spain 4-5 months out of 12!!

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Re: It's not just diesels

In addition to drivers there is also location. When I lived on the northeast (US) I regularly got mid 50s to near 60 and the drive across the continent averaged 53 with a pretty heavy foot. Sadly the first full tank in SoCal didn't make 40. Part of it is the traffic but I also think part is the different fuel blend that makes Cali-gas so expensive. I've been able to adjust so I can get reasonable mileage near the high 40s but I think the days of mid 50s are gone while I'm here.

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Re: It's not just diesels

My 3 litre i10 gets pretty much spot on the quoted figures.

Hint:

Try using your cruise control more. I can easily get 5 - 10 more mph using it.

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Re: It's not just diesels

Your i10 has a 3 litre engine? Is there room for any seats?

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Re: It's not just diesels

Yet my Mitsubishi gets consistently LESS when using Cruise Control., averaging 5mpg less than a manual right foot along the M4 and M5 corridors.

The Petrol blend issue raised earlier is also a factor; the fuel we get sold today is far WORSE than the fuel 20 years ago; I watched the decline in mpg across 5 same model cars, doing the same runs nearly every day; they were different ages and mileages, from 9K to 250K, and from "H" to "R" reg, yet you look at the mpg, they all took sharp mpg drops at the same time on several occasions; and on each of those occasions, the mpg never recovered.

More proof; at one time or another, I took three of those cars across France, and I got substantially better MPG from the French fuel - 20% better, almost as good as they used to do on UK fuel when we first bought the cars.

BTW, that Mitsubishi I mentioned at the start; it struggled with the first two tanks of French fuel, but once the EMU sorted itself out, the next four tanks gave me 30% better mpg; and THAT was climbing 2500m up, around and through the Alps and back again; with skis on the roof.

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Re: It's not just diesels

"Your i10 has a 3 litre engine? Is there room for any seats?"

You know that feeling when you spot the mistake waaay to late....

3 cylinder 1.0 litre....

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Re: It's not just diesels

"I have long said that the pollution levels in London, for example, prove withoud doubt that large diesel engines, in this case, buses, emmit SEVERAL times the max ammount of NOx permitted, as streets with only buses demonstrate. No doubt about it."

You'd be wrong though. In 2009, only 60% of NOX in London was generated by vheicles. The rest came from stationay sources - almost entirely 1970s era boilers with unsealed flues. These also emit copious quantities of carbon monoxide and inspectors could identify individual properties thanks to the scale of the emissions - only 40,50,000 boilers are responsible for at least 90% of the stationary-source NOX in London.

The relevance to vehicles is that even with cheating, Euro5 and 6 did reduce real-world emissions and that, along with retirement of older vehicles and the "clean air zones" means that vehicle-sourced NOX is well down on what it was in 2009 and non-vehicular NOX is something over 60% of the total of what's left.

Boiler emissions have been regulated since 2003 - and NOX was why councils were pushing condensing systems hard before this (condensing boilers emit almost zero NOX as it's absorbed into the water), however _existing_ systems are grandfathered against enforcement for around 20 years.

Most owners of these boilers have been approached and informed how polluting their installations are and offers have been made to assist in upgrading, however they generallly refuse point blank to do so and will stay refusniks until legally compelled to do so. Almost all of the offenders are wealthy individuals who can trivially replace their boiler installation. Money is not the issue and there are hints that attempts to force the issue will be strongly resisted in the courts when the NOX exemptions are removed.

Of course _who_ these people are is confidential data and can't be leaked. Being named and shamed might be a motivator but it's not a tactic that can be used, especially when the polluters have political clout and money.

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Re: It's not just diesels

"I have a design (for other purposes) that can detect the NOx levels.. and the whole thing costs 300£, screen included."

There's another track which could be followed. NOX is only a problem in certain dense urban areas (levels are only concerning in London inside the inner london ring road, on A abd B roads out to the north/south circular and major routes out to the M25, plus the M25 itself)

An _adaptive_ NOX response would allow for higher efficiency when environmental NOX is low, switching to lower emissions when NOX levels start climbing. This is perfectly feasible and economic with modern engine control systems, but our laws assume the technology of 20 years ago which was unable to handle these kinds of variables.

It still wouldn't solve the London NOX problem, especially in the Hackney, Finsbury Park and Golders Green hot spots. With vehicle NOX now accounting for less than half of the total, you're rapidly into the laws of diminishing returns. There are some streets in London which have 10 times the EU limits during overnight winter periods when there are _no_ vehicles recorded running on them.

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Re: It's not just diesels

"The downside is that its under MUCH higher stress and will probably develop faults far sooner than a less stressed engine."

IOW the lifespan of such an engine is likely to be 200,000 miles instead of the 800-900,000 miles most engines have been able to get since the 1990s.

You can get the milage out of these whizzers as long as you stay out of turbo boost zones all the time, but bear in mind that accelerating briskly to a speed and then staying at it in top gear will use less fuel than crawling slowly upwards in speed using the gears. Even with that, the increased milage is tiny compared to what can be gained by paying attention to what's ahead and avoiding unnecessary braking. Unless you're in a hybrid, every bit of braking (engine or friction) is kinetic energy being tossed overboard as heat.

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Re: It's not just diesels

"Sadly the first full tank in SoCal didn't make 40."

Presumably it was E85. Ethanol has a LOT lower energy density than gasoline, but it does burn cleaner.

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Re: It's not just diesels

"I watched the decline in mpg across 5 same model cars, doing the same runs nearly every day"

And yet over the last decade I've manged the opposite in my car. If I drive it like I stole it then it gets the same poor milage it used to get 15 years ago when I did that.

That said, if there's an ethanol blend at the pump, avoid it unless it's substantially cheaper. Think in terms of miles per pound not miles per gallon. (Premium grade has slightly lower energy density than 91, so unless your car _requires_ that fuel, using it will get _lower_ milage than using 91. Even higher grades frequently use ethanol blends to achieve the knock resistance and the power gains with higher compression engines come from being able to pack more fuel into the cylinders, not from the fuel)

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Eco?

three-litre EcoDiesel engines

The term "Eco" seems a bit of an oxymoron when used in conjunction with "three litre" and "Diesel engine"...especially when fitted to a 2-tonne-plus vehicle with the aerodynamic qualities of a housebrick.

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Re: Eco?

"The term "Eco" seems a bit of an oxymoron when used in conjunction with "three litre" and "Diesel engine"...especially when fitted to a 2-tonne-plus vehicle with the aerodynamic qualities of a housebrick."

This is the USA. 3.0L really isn't that big over there. You can buy some pickups with a 7L diesel engine.

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Re: Eco?

This is for "light duty vehicles", not just cars, so 3l probably isn't as excessive as you might think. Also, diesels are generally more efficient for CO2 emissions making the "eco" flag worth something. The realisation and understanding that NOx is worse than CO2 is beginning to be understood better by the general populace now, not sure how long the scientists have known.

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Re: Eco?

"The realisation and understanding that NOx is worse than CO2 is beginning to be understood better by the general populace now, not sure how long the scientists have known."

Define "worse"? NOx is a short term local pollutant - it affects human health in cities but on a planetary scale the amounts we produce do little harm. CO2 OTOH doesn't affect human health but is bad news from a long term global warming perspective. Take your pick.

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Re: Eco?

"The realisation and understanding that NOx is worse than CO2 is beginning to be understood better by the general populace now, not sure how long the scientists have known." - Known since at least the early 1980s when I was working in that area. If you are interested, look up "peroxyacyl nitrates" and air pollution ( famously cited as a nasty in LA smog).

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Re: Eco?

Tim beat me to it; The NOx and particulate issues were well known and mentioned by government scientists giving us briefings on the "Future Ecology and Alternate Fuel Sources" course I took at Birmingham Uni in the late 1970s; which is how I know the current government "surprise" is bullshit.

We also had Army Generals telling us that oil was going to be a military flash point; over a decade before Desert Storm.

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All this just to avoid using ad-blu

Or some other urea NOx reducer. I mean FFS, its a small tank that only needs refilling avery 20K miles or so and trucks and buses have been using them for years. It can be done as part of a regular service. Why the feck are car manufacturers so reluctant to fit this kit (most some expensive touchscreen based control system that no one under 30 really wants, no problem!) but instead play silly buggers with the ECU to fool tests? It just beggers belief.

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Re: urea NOx reducer

instead play silly buggers

In this context, I think the correct term is "take the piss"

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Re: All this just to avoid using ad-blu

I shall tell you why.

It is generally perceived by manufacturers that the extra cost of installing an adblue system on 'cheap' and 'low margin' cars is not feasable, because it would

a. drive up the price of a car. On a 100K luxury boat the extra money for the system is negligable, en a 10K ecobox it's a substantial procentual increase and

b. there's the extra maintenance and running cost, which can not be easily justified if you are competing with manufacturers that sclaim they can do without (but are in fact cheating).

No business case is very clear for the very expensive and very cheap cars, but there is a very large middle ground (Golf, Astra, 1 series, A and B class) that is fiercely competitive and where a buck is a buck.

Buyers DO vote with their wallets, unfortunately.

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Unhappy

Re: All this just to avoid using ad-blu

I think some people forget we all live on the same planet.....

Perhaps that should be a selling point - Not the cheapest, but better for all our lungs....

Weird/Obscure Factoid: A quote from Nemesis (1992) when an android is questioned about her eco terrorist actions she replies "I live here too..."

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Re: All this just to avoid using ad-blu

"b. there's the extra maintenance and running cost, which can not be easily justified if you are competing with manufacturers that sclaim they can do without (but are in fact cheating)."

You'd think a responsible manufacturer would call out the "cheaters" rather than join them since they have the technology and skills to prove the "cheating" quite easily. Short term loses for long term gains and huge kudos with the pubic.

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NXM

Re: All this just to avoid using ad-blu

Not saying adblue is a bad thing, but a mate of mine had a mitsubishi mpv thing with an adblue tank. It was always going wrong.

Either it would drop to limp home mode because the tank had run out, or completely stop because it had somehow put too much in. It just made the car unreliable.

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Re: All this just to avoid using ad-blu

"Either it would drop to limp home mode because the tank had run out,"

Well thats his fault then. I'm sure there was a warning light on for quite a while before that happened. Cars arn't white goods - they require maintenance.

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Re: All this just to avoid using ad-blu

500-1000e cost to install, plus the inconvinience to your customers.. therefore, to be avoided...

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"he VW group 1.4 TSI 150 is quite remarkably smooth, quiet, responsive, pulls strongly from very low revs and just keeps the torque going right round the rev counter"

I've driven a car with that engine. Can't say I found its performance anything special but I guess everything is relative. My current 3.0 would leave it for dead at any speed.

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It's also about nose weight. My Touran has the 150 TSi against the 2.0TDi it's over 100kg less sitting over the front wheels.

Even in a battle bus 0-60 8.9 and 132mph with 39mpg on DSG. I'm happy.

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NOx has nothing to do with the fuel

Why is it they are knocking on Diesels for NOx pollution.

NOx or Nitrogen Oxides none of which the chemical components come actually from the fuel. Both Diesels and Petrols produce NOx.

The main course that produces more NOx is lean burning engines, As lean burning engines naturally run hotter plus there is plenty of excess oxygen to combine with the Nitrogen from the air.

Diesels have been lean burners for well I don't ever recall a Diesel engine that has a fuel induction system outside the cylinder. Petrols have normally had the fuel induction within the inlet track be it injection or carbed, so had the control of the power of the engine was by restriction of the air-fuel mix into the engine which had very limited amount of free oxygen.

Direct Injection works differently by injecting directly in the champer right at the ignition point(spark plug or glow plug) the air intake can be unrestricted and less fuel is needed to be injected to cause the required amount. but due to there being less fuel to burn more oxygen is available and will combine with the Nitrogen causing the NOx

And before you start saying Diesels are at fault, later petrols including the postage stamp ford 3 cylinder are direct injection so will be producing a lot of NOx

And cutting a cylinder out does not actually save much, as try and divide 4 into 3 and have a nice balanced engine there may be a extra spinning shaft just to balance the engine otherwise it would destroy it's self. I have a v6 (Diesel) that has to have a balancing shaft to prevent this if it was a inline 6 there would be no need for that extra shaft but this was due to reduce manufacturing environmental cost. On a side note a 4 cylinder 1l will be far smother than 3 cylinder and use the same amount of fuel if the same tech is used to fuel it.

And what vehicles have had won the environmental awards? And before you starting thinking it's a electric car or a hybrid think again they do not come close!

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