Stricter and more accurate emission standards and testing methods for cars will be extended to diesel-powered engines on September 1 as part of efforts to reduce air pollution, especially in urban areas. These criteria had applied previously to gasoline-powered engines only.

The measure, which was signed in June by Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan, brings Israel into line with European standards. It specifies that the emission standards used in the annual license examination are those set by the manufacturer for each vehicle model. In cases where the manufacturer has not set emission standards for the model, they will be set in advance by the ministry. The new standards will also apply to roadside spot-checks of vehicles.

In addition to adopting the stricter manufacturer-set standards for emission, testing methods that the Environmental Protection Ministry says are more accurate will be employed. In addition, the new regulations give the ministry the authority to supervise emissions testing at the licensing facilities, a right that had been reserved for the Transportation Ministry.

Diesel engines produce large quantities of nitrogen, as well as tiny particulates, both of which contribute significantly to illness and death as a result of exposure to air pollution. Each year, about 30,000 cars, most of them diesel-powered, are pulled over to the side of the road for emission checks by Environmental Protection Ministry teams, in cooperation with local authorities and Malraz, the Council for the Prevention of Noise and Air Pollution in Israel. About 10 percent of those vehicles fail the tests; their owners are fined or ordered to fix the problem.