The war against the internal combustion engine by CARB and US EPA is not based on real scientific evidence—examples

Guest post by Albert Parker

There is the impression that the “science” of the California Air Resources Board (CARB), as well as of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has been “settled” recently to favor specific Californian Green Mobility companies, rather than to pursue legitimate air pollution goals. In the ploy, the German car makers are always those to blame for something, just to keep them down, and at the same time, one roasted German car maker always helps to intimidate other car makers of other countries, as well as of other US states, such as Ford, GM or FCA.  Here below some examples.

The BMW hydrogen 7 is not a zero-emission vehicle …

In 2005 BMW proposed the Hydrogen 7 as a zero emissions vehicle. Burning hydrogen, at the tailpipe there was mostly water vapor, and no carbon compounds.

There was the opportunity to have some pollutants such as nitrous oxides, however easily removed with the after treatment. The US EPA didn’t agree with the zero-emission stuff.

Even though nothing this time went public, the US EPA said that the engine was still internal combustion, hence there was oil used for lubrication, hence there was the opportunity of having oil ending up within the cylinder, hence there was the option to produce evil carbon dioxide molecules at the tail pipe.

Although the oil consumption could have been as low as 0.04 liters of oil every 1,000 km, or 0.06 liters of oil every 1,000 miles, the irrelevance of the carbon dioxide emissions was not considered.

The range extender of the battery electric BMW i3 must be used only to reach the nearest recharging point

Regarding battery electric vehicles with range extender, BMW proposed the i3 as a concept car in 2011, with a version battery only, and with a version with a range extender. The range extender was a small internal combustion engine, burning gasoline, stored on board in a small tank, and then driving a generator recharging the battery. By introducing the range extender, it was possible to increase the range of the car, and reduce the cost, weight and space of the bloody batteries, that are a disaster for the economy as well as the environment.

While production only started in 2013, the CARB immediately rushed to set up rules to prevent the optimization of this concept. In 2012, the CARB issued an overlong regulation,

requesting for a range extended battery electric vehicle compliance, among the others, with the following criteria:

· the vehicle must have a rated all-electric range of at least 75 miles; 

· the auxiliary power unit (APU) must provide range less than or equal to battery range;

· the APU must not be capable of switching on until the battery charge has been depleted. 

As a result, of these limitations, BMW struggled to make the range extended battery electric vehicle competitive, and recently, they eventually dropped the production of the i3 with range extender

Fear of possible bans of everything using a combustion fuel was also part of the decision. 

The diesel engines have excess pollution over real world driving 

As everybody remember, the combustion engine phobia growth rapidly in the aftermath of t6he 2015 diesel gate targeting the Volkswagen group.

Diesel engines were not that bad in terms of carbon dioxide emissions, quite competitive with battery electric vehicles in life cycle analyses. Passenger cars were tested for compliance with emission rules over a prescribed cycle, in a laboratory, under repeatable conditions with accurate equipment.

The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), requested to some academics in need of research moneys a random driving on the road of different diesel vehicles and measurements of pollutant with portable emission analyzers. They obviously found “the horror”. Vehicles optimized to produce low specific (per km or miles) carbon dioxide emissions and specific (per km or miles) pollutant emissions within the limits in certain conditions, were not able to ensure the same specific pollutant emission limits under other conditions that however were not specified in any rule. 

As everybody knows, whatever is the specific limit, there is always some operation where the limits may be exceeded (try switching on a car without engaging any gear …. the specific emissions will be +infinite). And lean burn diesel engines emit lot of nitrogen oxides as soon as they are hot ….

Instigated by the ICCT, the EPA obviously issued a notice of violation against Volkswagen and eventually sanctioned Volkswagen.

The scandal has so far cost VW more than 26 billion euros, more than 29 billion $, in fines, compensation and buybacks, mainly in the United States.

Obviously, part of the Volkswagen billions ended up in supporting the battery electric vehicle mobility, directly funding the electric vehicle recharging infrastructure in the United States.

The fact that diesel vehicles are not that bad as depicted by the ICCT and the US EPA based on inadequate assessments, is confirmed by the tests now properly performed.

Diesel vehicles work well also for what concerns the pollutant emissions, including nitrogen oxides, and particulate matters.

Obviously, these results are not acknowledged by any policy maker, they will not change the future of the combustion engine in general, as the European car makers have already terminated their research and development plans for combustion engines to focus only on electric cars.


The link in between science and politics will bring nothing good.  Science is supposed to be right, not to be popular, or politically correct.


56 thoughts on “The war against the internal combustion engine by CARB and US EPA is not based on real scientific evidence—examples

  1. ” … The link in between science and politics will bring nothing good. Science is supposed to be right, not to be popular, or politically correct. …”

    In the Humanities talking useless nonsense is not only standard practice it’s a prerequisite.

    i.e. useless Liberal-Arts from has always been at war with practical Science and Engineering.

    Now science and engineering has provided them with ‘Smart Phones’.

    See the problem?

    • And a phone is only as smart as its user. Nothing creates useless nonsense like the Humanities. The most idiotic proclamation of GORE Humanitarian Alarminst’s is that they have a consensus of scientists in agreement.

      Nothing about the scientific method requires a vote of faceless authoritarians that add up to a super-majority. It is made all the more useless when people who should have a vote announce that they were not aware that a vote was taken let alone given the opportunity to cast a ballot.

      • CARB apparently missed the WHOLE point about zero emissions claims: until we discover bottles of compressed hydrogen growing on trees

        Hydrogen needs to be created by ‘unoxidising’ water, so you can burn it again. Thus hydrogen is a storage medium not an energy source.

        Until you assess the “carbon” emissions involved in making the hydrogen, it is pointless discussing the microscopic amounts of engine oil getting past the piston rings.

  2. Great article. It amazes me that no one in official circles seems to be able to challenge the perceived wisdom that battey powered cars are a good idea. Presenting the facts makes no difference. Any rational person who examined the the costs, shortage of key materials, total carbon emissions over lifetime of vehicle, the range, the kind of chanrging infrastructure that would be needed if a ban on ICE cars comes in would conclude that it is nonsense to try and replace all ICE vehicles with battery power. But the subsitidies and future bans of ICE continue…

    • The misinformation about the “Volkswagen diesel scandal” is always about the use of “dirty” diesel” not the actual problem, which is NO3. NO3 is produced from N2 which is 78% of “air”. NO arises from N in the fuel but NO3 is produced even if there is no N in the fuel. NO2 is produced by gas turbines due to the high temperature (above 1500 C).

      NO3 is produced by high pressure and modestly high temperature in a diesel engine which or course has a high internal pressure needed to get the fuel to ignite when it is sprayed into the combustion chamber by the injectors.

      The whingeing in the press about ” dirty diesel” is done on the basis, the assumption, that the exhaust is “black and dirty” like an old bus, which of course diesels are not, any more. Even when running under most operating conditions, the NOx emissions of the VW engine model in question were acceptable. What they did was provide additional fuel injection volume capacity so the power was “spectacular” if you put your foot to the floor.

      Well, who does that all day? No one. But when you do, the NOx goes through the roof. That is the “dirt” from that diesel engine. The “emissions cheat” was to place an electronic brick under the accelerator if the computer determined the car was being tested, limiting the maximum HP.

      Because activism takes on the mantle of “warfare” the “dirty diesel” and “dirty coal” and “dirty wood” (in fact all solid fuels) memes are trotted out in an attempt to get an ignorant public to support the elimination of solid fuels and technologies in favour of others in which the complainants/advocates just happen to have an interest. It is like the advocacy of David Suzuki, the CCX and the promotion of a national carbon tax.

      Diesels were also slammed for eliminating PM2.5 when it was discovered they produce lots of PM0.02. This surely, is a health hazard, right? Well, that proved very difficult to assess because when humans inhale particles as small as 20 nanometres, they are expelled again, only entering the body by diffusion, not entrapment. The chase is on to identify some horrible and disabling effect of ultrafine particles. So far, rumours and allegations.

      • If we compare the air quality in Los Angeles as it was with the air quality in Los Angeles today, we can conclude that the EPA has done some good and is worth having. On the other hand, there has to be some mechanism for stopping an agency once it has accomplished the tasks it was set up to accomplish.

        Any regulatory agency will continue to produce regulations far past the point where those regulations become counterproductive.

        • That’s the rule of bureaucracy. Self-preservation and the maximum accumulation of power with a minimum of responsibility. If responsibility is unavoidable, then maximized protection from recriminations.

          The EPA has been the most successful organization in US history based on these goals. It was established by fiat and essentially answers to almost no one. The financing of ‘sue and settle’ is one of the most brazen violations of the social contract ever. Breathtaking.

          It shows what happens without the normal lines of accountability. It was a very successful initiative started when the government had essentially been captured by big industry. They call it ‘state capture’ these days. The laughable ’emissions pumps’ of 1970 are examples of the disgraceful attitude of the car manufacturers to the environment.

          The root problem was technical incompetence, standard writing inexperience and not enough accountability to match their sweeping power. The problems remain.

          • The problem with CARB and the US EPA was having them be independent agencies. If the same laws had been administered by an agency that had other responsibilities, some setting of priorities could be done.
            Instead, one gets a “special prosecutor” effect, where the zealots attracted to an “environmental” agency chase an ever retreating zero pollution goal.

      • I liked your comment, except the last journal study I read from Ostuart concluded that 50% to 60% of PM0.02 particulates made it into our bloodstream while 40% to 50% left the body when breathing out. When these particles get stuck in our brains and hearts they destroy us slowly from the inside, causing extreme health problems like irregular blood coagulation.

    • I can’t believe you are against battery powered vehicles. Forget about CO2 emissions. The ICE has a well to wheel fuel efficiency of about 16%. Compare that to an electric vehicle that is up to 5 times more efficient. Our fossil fuels are a precious resource. They shouldn’t be wasted.

      • …vehicle that is up to 5 times more efficient..

        Can you show me that study? I seem to recall that much electricity comes from coal and natural gas.

      • Yeah, and the electricity comes out of the outlet at the wall. And it doesn’t take any efficiency degradation from its source material transformation to make it and get it there. And the conversion losses to put it into the battery and out of the battery again also don’t exist.

        And by the way, our fossil fuels aren’t a precious resource. We also don’t wast them. We profit from them in huge ways.

        • He hasn’t accounted for the cost of doubling or tripling (at a minimum) the capacity of the grid to handle all that new load.

      • Hello Trebla,

        have you calculated the well, or coal mine to wheels efficiency of an electric vehicle. I see so many people say that X% of our grid is renewable and use that as a calculation. Well it simply does not work that way, ultimately, unless you live in Norway’s largely hydro generated power, all electric vehicles are charged with fossil fuel generation. This is because those are the only source of power that react to grid load increase, not solar, not wind and not nuclear. So no CO2 reduction, no efficiency gains, average efficiency is about 40% at the power station (50% if gas combined cycle), transmission, distribution and conversion losses all have to be accounted for.
        I do not see any great gain in this change from combustion vehicles to electric vehicles.

        • You also want to be a bit careful about giving hydroelectric generation an automatic pass, as if reinforced concrete (CO2 emission from baking the calcium carbonate) dams and steel/copper wound turbines had no relation to coked coal and the internal combustion vehicles for their resource acquisition/transport/and installation. Think of yourself at square one, sitting on a grassy slope overlooking a promising dam site and starting from there to arrange all it will take to see it through to completion. Just like other ‘renewables’ somebody is going to do a heap of work to emplace them and expend a lot of energy before the ‘free’ water/wind/sun is harvestable.

      • 5 times? Nonsense on stilts.

        The best way to determine efficiency of disparate systems is to compare costs.
        When you subtract taxes and subsidies, electric vehicles cost more to run.

      • Trebla March 22, 2019 at 5:19 am

        I can’t believe you are against battery powered vehicles. Forget about CO2 emissions. The ICE has a well to wheel fuel efficiency of about 16%. Compare that to an electric vehicle that is up to 5 times more efficient.

        There’s always the opportunity to choose between cars weighing up to 2,000 kg


        cars with ranges 80 miles, 156 miles …


        Model Battery Charge Times

        Toyota Prius PHEV

        4.4kWh Li-ion, 18km (11 miles) all-electric
        range 3h at 115VAC 15A; 1.5h at 230VAC 15A

        Chevy Volt PHEV

        16kWh, Li-manganese/NMC, liquid cooled, 181kg (400 lb), all electric
        range 64km (40 miles) 10h at 115VAC, 15A;
        4h at 230VAC, 15A

        Mitsubishi iMiEV

        16kWh; 88 cells, 4-cell modules; Li-ion; 109Wh/kg; 330V,
        range 128km (80 miles) 13h at 115VAC 15A;
        7h at 230VAC 15A

        Smart Fortwo ED

        16.5kWh; 18650 Li-ion,
        driving range 136km (85 miles) 8h at 115VAC, 15A; 3.5h at 230VAC, 15A

        BMW i3 Curb

        1,200kg (2,645 lb) 22kWh (18.8kWh usable), /NMC, large 60A prismatic cells, battery weighs 204kg (450 lb)
        driving range of 130–160km (80–100 miles) ~4h at 230VAC, 30A;
        50kW Supercharger; 80% in 30 min

        Nissan Leaf* 30kWh;
        Li-manganese, 192 cells; air cooled; 272kg (600 lb),
        driving range up to 250km (156 miles) 8h at 230VAC, 15A; 4h at 230VAC, 30A

        Tesla S*Curb 2,100kg (4,630 lb)

        70kWh and 90kWh, 18650 NCA cells of 3.4Ah; liquid cooled; 90kWh pack has 7,616 cells;
        battery weighs 540kg (1,200 lb); S 85 has up to 424km
        range (265 mi) 9h with 10kW charger;
        120kW Supercharger, 80% charge in 30 min

        Chevy Bolt Curb 1,616kg;

        battery 440kg 60kWh; 288 cells in 96s3p format, EPA driving rate 383km (238 miles); liquid cooled;
        200hp electric motor (150kW) 40h at 115VAC, 15A;
        10h at 230VAC, 30A
        1h with 50kWh

        Table 2: Electric vehicles with battery type, range and charge time.

        * In 2015/16 Tesla S 85 increased the battery from 85kWh to 90kWh; Nissan Leaf from 25kWh to 30kWh.


        not that desirable.

  3. Albert Parker, good report. EPA mixing science with politics is bad enough, but in California it seems to be standard practice. California is now waiting for the record snowpack in the Sierra Nevada Mountains to melt to see if their neglected dams will hold up. I’m sure we are all in favor of controlling emissions from our internal combustion machines, but on a rational basis, please.

  4. Why am I only charged £20 annual road tax (say 30 dollars) for my 1800cc Citroen diesel with urea exhaust treatment? Must be a mistake surely? Or it’s rather clean?

  5. It is assumed that electric vehicles do not cause pollution (CO2). Little consideration is given to where the energy comes from to charge them and the CO2 generated to produce the batteries. Most with electric cars will feel they are carbon neutral……that clean solar will charge their batteries, but when the average person comes home in the evening from a day at work there is little if any solar energy available. Electric cars are fun to drive, they have excellent performance, but they are range limited, charging infrastructure is limited, they cost a lot more than similar gasoline powered cars, they do no reduce fuel costs, they will have to be taxed so they don’t avoid paying highway funds, the grid will not be able to handle millions of electric cars all being charged during the normal peak demand for power 8-10PM, because we have abundant energy….they are a solution looking for a problem.

    • And they use wheels that wear and tear, so they emit particulate matter, so they are no zero emission cars.

      • “so they are no zero emission cars.” Adding to that, there are no zero emission drivers either.

      • And they use wheels that wear and tear ….

        But the wheels on those EVs won’t be worth a hoot after the Enviros eliminate the tires because ….

        A tire (American English) or tyre (British English) is a ring-shaped component that surrounds a wheel’s rim to transfer a vehicle’s load from the axle through the wheel to the ground and to provide traction on the surface traveled over.

        The materials of modern pneumatic tires are synthetic rubber, natural rubber, fabric and wire, along with carbon black and other chemical compounds

    • Mobility taxes for electric cars. This is a cut and paste from:

      Why buy an electric car, if it is going to cost the same to drive as a conventional ICE car?

      I have mentioned before on WUWT, that the west coast governments of British Columbia, Washington, Oregon and California are thinking about mileage taxes for electric cars. Electric car owners don’t buy gasoline. So, that lost tax revenue will be have to be collected somewhere else.

      Here are two examples
      Metro Vancouver’s mobility pricing commission starts consultations
      No firm proposals on the table yet but new revenue sources needed for transportation system, mayors say
      Moving around Metro Vancouver: EXPLORING NEW APPROACHES TO REDUCING CONGESTION (36 pages)
      An exploration of the regional baseline, and implications for mobility pricing

      Washington Road Usage Charge Pilot Project
      Test Drive the Road Ahead

    • Electric cars are remotely polluting vehicles.

      Not only CO2 from the power generation, but also the landfill of old batteries, and the rare-earth and cobalt mining and purifying. From a political point of view they have a great advantage that together with smart meters, electric cars – even specific electric cars – can be disabled by not allowing them to charge. This is in line with Agenda 21 intents to limit travel between conurbations.

  6. I arrived in the Inland Empire of Southern California in September of 1980, to begin my career as an aerospace engineer. At the time, the area was suffering a double whammy: the San Bernardino mountains were pretty much all on fire (the Panorama Fire), and air pollution was at its peak.

    It was a standing joke that the mountains left for the summer. One couldn’t see them for the smog. It was shocking to me when driving from Norton AFB to Rocketdyne Canoga Park my first winter that mountains I had never seen before were suddenly there in full majesty.

    Then, miraculously, the air cleared. A lot of people, myself included, thought that CARB rules had saved the day. Well, yes, in a limited way, they did. However, the one sea state change in Southern California air quality came when Fontana’s Kaiser Steel finally shut down their coke ovens. They had spent years trying to mitigate the emissions, but without success. They finally abandoned the effort, and the air in the Inland Empire was almost instantly purified. Even a tripling of the population (and attendant automotive traffic) didn’t change it. When I fled SouCal in 2008, it was not because of air quality.

  7. The true fantasy land for CARB is called the low carbon fuel standard which was written to encourage the development of cellulose based ethanol. These aspirational regulations did not succeed in making the cellulosic ethanol economic but they did result in a very high price for LCFS credits which added 10% to the cost of fuel in California.

  8. Having achieved the goals for which the EPA and CARB were originally created, these bureaucracies are trying to maintain their existence by exercising control in new areas. This is the problem with government solutions to problems; fail to achieve the goal and be maintained forever, or achieve the goal and have to expand their control in order to maintain their existence.

  9. Kookifornia, New Yuck, and any other states so inclined should secede and form their own CuckooLand Nation. Goodbye, and good riddance.

  10. Among the completely cuckoo, and damaging ideas Kookifornia is responsible for is the gas can which not only doesn’t work, but causes actual pollution, in the form of spilled gas. Thanks, Kookifornia.

  11. We punish VW and BMW. They punish Google and FB. It’s how one runs a trade war in “free”, that is managed, trade.

  12. Several decades ago I had the ‘opportunity’ to testify at a CARB hearing concerning the elimination of air borne asbestos in California. I was part of an auto company delegation. The auto industry showed that over 99 percent of brake lining asbestos was transformed to forsterite (dirt) at the lining/interface during braking events. CARB, of course, wanted to include the original asbestos weight. In either case, the brake lining contribution to air borne asbestos in California was well under 1% – that is, negligible. Meanwhile, another group testified that a single unpaved road in California, made from asbestos bearing gravel, contributed nearly 30% of air borne asbestos in the state.

    During the debate over which form of asbestos to include, I tried to make the point: “Why are we even talking about this? Why don’t we just all get together, and pave the gravel road made from asbestos rocks?”

    A CARB bureaucrat turned to me with a frown and a glare: “Because we have the authority to regulate YOU.

    And that, indeed, is the only issue.

  13. You may recall the highly paid scientists and other geniuses decided to put millions of gallons of a highly water soluble chemical MTBE) in underground storage tanks.

  14. I was impressed by that EPA ruling that a clean air vehicle can not use lubricants. I thought that any rotating parts do use lubricants. By that logic, we can’t even go back to horses and wagons – wagons used lubricants.

    • Well, I’ve heard that they are going to mandate a triangular wheel. It seems it’s an improvement over the square wheel as it eliminates one bump.

  15. As one who changed his first flat with a tube in it, let me suggest that CARB be required to take an old car with an old carb…, and fail to change the needle valve at high altitude, not far from their office. If they could keep it running, they would appreciate the heat. Second, CARB should be required to spend X amount of time in a country which has serious pollution problems, comparable to what we had for a few of decades after WWII.

    As to liberal arts (WXcycles above), it changed as much as political liberals since needle valve time, apparently a direction followed now by too much engineering and science. Reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmitic still work. So do ICEs, much better, with exceptions, now.

    • So you want us to wait until the air gets just as poor as India? That’s like saying, “the doctor said its inevitable that I have a heart attack, but instead of doing something about it, I’ll just wait and see if it kills me. If it doesn’t, maybe I’ll start walking 5 minutes once per month to get to pre heart attack health.” That’s just hoping you’ll die from the heart attack so you don’t have to deal with it. It’s hoping that the air will just get so poor that we’ll be past saving and we won’t be able to do anything about it, so we won’t need to deal with it (we’ll just die from it).

  16. The war against the internal combustion engine

    I’ve got a flanking-maneuver recommendation for this war — go back to steam-engines. They’re external-combustion. 🙂

  17. The US has forgotten the concept of scientific method for those issues that are argued in the news

  18. hence there was oil used for lubrication, hence there was the opportunity of having oil ending up within the cylinder, hence there was the option to produce evil carbon dioxide molecules at the tail pipe.

    Good Lord Almighty, did I just read that?

  19. My guess is that this site is filled with paid commentators to muddy the issue as much as possible with fake facts. Using the Trump method of incorrect facts one right after the other. Becomes exhausting constantly refuting the outright lies.

    The guy running this site is suspected of being a paid by big oil and we all know there are all kinds of people willing to make money from evil intentions.

    Bottom line is this site has no credibility.

    • I have two comments to that.

      1. Despite smears galore, I have NEVER been paid by “big oil” small oil, or any other company that provides energy. Period. But your’re just lazy, so you regurgitate smears.

      2. I know almost every regular commenter here, I’ve met many, and they are just regular folks like you. We have no “paid commenters” that I know of, save possibly Nick Stokes, but he’s on the opposite side of the issue from me.

      This site has plenty of credibility with people that think independently, rather than regurgitate. By the way, if big oil/fossil fuels are evil, how to you heat your house in the winter there in Canada? Taken the “no fossil fuels pledge” yet. If you haven’t and you use them in any form, you’re “evil” too. 😉

      If any of that upsets you, well then, tough noogies.

    • Said the clueless, know-nothing drive-by climate troll, who probably scampered back to Desmog as fast as his little legs could carry him.

    • Steve k,
      “we all know there are all kinds of people willing to make money from evil intentions.”
      Perhaps ‘we all know’ that you are among these with the evil intentions? Rational arguments are much more likely to persuade that unsupported assumptions about someone else’s motives. I hear none of the former and much of the latter.

    • After 10 years or more at WUWT, I am still waiting for my cheque from “big oil”. If anything, I am paying them!

  20. This was all over the place. I really wanted to read and understand this article, but I couldn’t get past how poorly written it was. There were so many grammatical errors that I needed to read sentences multiple times just to understand the structure of events. I had to quit, I couldn’t fathom reading it over and over again just to understand the fragmented ideas and structure.

    That’s when I decided that I probably shouldn’t be trying to read information from someone who can’t put one correct sentence together in an editorial.

    • Synnova

      Judging by your post, the original article is way above your English language pay grade.

      You have a cheek criticising anyone else’s sentence structure or grammar.

  21. Synnova

    I wasn’t going to, but I can’t resist it.

    This was all over the place.” As my primary school English teacher would have said, “What ‘was’ all over the place?” And “Has it improved since the time is ‘was’ all over the place, and now, when it exists as ‘is’ all over the place?” And, “What place was it all over?”

    I’m certain she would have said, “To understand an article, one must read it” “I really wanted to read and understand this article” doesn’t make sense as you seemed to have not bothered reading it as “….you couldn’t get past how poorly written it was.” Presumably you didn’t read it, so how could you possibly make sense of it?

    And of course, “I couldn’t get past….” She would have asked me if, whatever it is you are referring to, is blocking the entire road? She might also have added “Why would you refer to it as “how poorly written it ‘was’” when in your opinion it seems it remains (is) badly written. Has it somehow changed between when it was originally written, and now?”

    Janet and John analysis of your post as you are clearly incapable of understanding anything more advanced.

    I won’t waste my time on the rest, FFS.

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