Motor giant in GHG credit move as tests highlight emission flaw

US car manufacturing giant General Motors (GM) has announced it is to work with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)  in an effort to resolve a significant excess in CO2 emissions.

The excess had been identified by the EPA via its light-duty vehicle in-use testing program, as a result GM has announced it is to retire approximately 50 million metric tons (megagrams) of greenhouse gas credits. The EPA added the agreement is the result of an EPA investigation that identified excess CO2 emissions from approximately 5.9 million 2012-2018 model year GM vehicles currently in use.

“EPA light-duty vehicle standards are designed to ensure that vehicles on the road conform to the emissions performance asserted by manufacturers during EPA’s certification process,” the organisation explained.

Automakers are required to test vehicles that have been on the road for one year and again at four years and submit those test results to the  EPA. The EPA also conducts its own tests to ensure vehicles on the road are complying with emissions standards. Tests done by both EPA and GM showed the GM vehicles were emitting more than 10 percent higher CO2 on average than GM’s initial GHG compliance reports claimed.

“EPA’s vehicle standards depend on strong oversight in order to deliver public health benefits in the real world,” said EPA administrator Michael Regan. “Our investigation has achieved accountability and upholds an important program that’s reducing air pollution and protecting communities across the country.”

This action involves approximately 4.6 million 2012-2018 full size pickups and SUVs and approximately 1.3 million 2012-2018 midsize SUVs. A list of affected vehicles is below.

“The in-use program is an essential part of EPA’s work to ensure that the climate benefits of EPA’s vehicle standards are realised,” added the EPA. “That includes the recently finalised light duty vehicle standards that are expected to avoid more than 7 billion tons of carbon emissions and provide nearly $100 billion of annual net benefits.

“EPA remains vigilant in monitoring the performance of the vehicles on the road today to ensure automakers comply and the goals of the greenhouse gas programs are achieved.”