BRUSSELS (Reuters) -- European politicians today voted to speed up rules to tighten compliance with pollution limits on cars, adding to pressure for reform after U.S. regulators caught Volkswagen Group rigging the performance of vehicles in tests.
The European Union executive, working for years to close loopholes in testing procedures for new vehicles, has proposed a law to introduce "real world testing" and narrow the gap between low energy use and low emissions performance, in the laboratory and what happens on the road.
The European Parliament's Environment Committee today voted through an amendment to speed up the process and bring the debate into the open, saying the real world driving emissions test must be in place by 2017.
It also agreed negotiations on a formal legal text should start immediately between representatives of the European Parliament, member states and the executive European Commission.
Until now, the implementing legislation had been fought over in closed-door committees in a separate procedure, where some officials said Germany had led efforts to weaken the law.
The Greens said they proposed the amendment to increase pressure for change.
"By gaming the test procedure for vehicle emissions, carmakers have kept cars on the road that are multiple factors over the legal pollution limits. This cynical chicanery must end," Green environment spokesman Bas Eickhout said.