1985-06-01

Evolution of Motor Vehicle Emission Control Legislation in Europe-Leading to the Catalyst Car? 850384

Motor vehicle emission control has been subject of worldwide legislative activities, which already started about 30 years ago and, meanwhile, have generated a variety of regulations, often substantially differing among countries.The ultimate goal of all these efforts is to arrive at a practically “pollution-free car”, which means the ability to meet the most stringent emission standards necessary to exclude the motor vehicle from environmental concerns. A technology, which can meet this criterion does exist in form of the catalyst car already introduced on domestic and imported vehicles in the US market a decade ago.Why then, did it take about 10 more years befor catalyst vehicles appeared as well on the European home market of one of the importing countries?An attempt is made here to answer this question through an investigation of the historical evolution of the “European Way” towards motor vehicle emission control. Basic differences between the US- and European situation are discussed, and special attention is given to the events in the Federal Republic of Germany, which initiated the introduction of unleaded gasoline and catalyst cars in Europe. The developments in Sweden, Switzerland and Austria, which made these countries select a national approach to control auto emissions, are described.The paper concludes, that a common European solution to the problem is possible on the basis of a “time axis compromise”.

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