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Car buyers could lose out in fuel-test fixingBack

CO2The Telegraph reports that car makers are fixing official fuel tests on the CO2 levels produced by new cars.

Reports suggest that manufacturers are “fudging” tests, which is casting a shadow of doubt over recent impressively low CO2 figures we’ve seen released on a number of new cars.

A leading transport pressure group has stated that car owners could be facing a hike of up to 25 per cent on fuel bills in comparison to the figures claimed by official tests because car makers are in fact cheating the system.

With new European figures revealing official carbon dioxide levels for new cars sold in the last year has dropped to 127g/km, equivalent to a 56.6mpg average, it is being questioned how these low figures which have already exceeded 2015 targets of 130g/km, have been derived.

Brussel-based Transport & Environment (T&E) group states that these figures are nothing like what owners achieve in real-life driving, calculating the real life average as just 45mpg.

“Fuel efficiency standards…are being undermined by an obsolete test,” said T&E’s clean vehicles manager Greg Archer in a statement. “The test procedures are a Swiss cheese, full of loopholes, that carmakers exploit to exaggerate improvements in fuel economy and emissions.”

In response, car manufacturers have stressed that the importance of laboratory tests is to provide buyers with a reliable comparison between cars rather than to reflect real-world driving, but according to T&E the loopholes mean consumers can’t even accurately compare rival models.

Some of the tricks mentioned by T&E include angling the wheels so there’s less tyre in contact with the road, taping over panel gaps to decrease wind resistance and using ultra-low-friction oils in the engine and gearbox.

The European Commission plans to introduce a new, globally applied test cycle in 2017 designed to more accurately reflect real-world driving. It faces direct opposition from car manufacturers who are pushing for these plans to be delayed until after 2021, the date by which makers must reduce CO2 of new cars sold to an average of 95g/km or face heavy fines.

One way car makers can avoid hefty fines is to better promote electric cars which do not emit any tailpipe CO2 and attract ‘super credits’ used to offset sales of less efficient cars.

Based on current manufacturer figures, CO2 emissions from new cars have fallen 17 per cent between 1990 and 2012.


Posted by Leana Kell on 06/05/2014