T&E report analyses real-world MPG

T&E report analyses real-world MPG

If your new car using more fuel than the brochure promised? The good news is that it's probably not due to your heavy-footed driving. The bad news is that it's probably that the company making the car is manipulating its fuel economy figures.

That is the view of a new report by Transport & Environment (T&E). Its '2014 Mind the Gap' report analysed real-world fuel consumption by motorists that, it says, "highlights the abuses by carmakers of the current tests and the failure of EU regulators to close loopholes".

"Half of the official fuel efficiency gains made since EU laws were adopted in 2008 are hot air." It says that companies are producing official fuel economy figures in laboratories that cannot be replicated in the real world.

T&E says that, on average, across all car brands, the gap between real-world fuel consumption and carmakers' claims has widened from 8% in 2001 to a staggering 31% in 2013 for private motorists.

Next Green Car recently reported on research by Emissions Analytics that suggested the gap between real-world and test MPG had grown to 22%.

The gap for averages 43%. "The additional fuel burned compared to official test results costs a typical driver €500 a year," it claims.

"Half of the official fuel efficiency gains made since EU laws were adopted in 2008 are hot air," it said in a statement. "For Opel/Vauxhall cars, made by General Motors, less than 20% of the measured improvement in the past five years has actually been delivered on the road.

"The obsolete test is unrepresentative of modern cars and driving styles and is full of loopholes that car markers exploit to produce better test results. Carmakers produce specially prepared prototype vehicles for the test and pay testing services that help to optimise the results.

"Modern engine management systems are even able to detect when a test is being carried out to deliver better fuel-efficiency results - a technique known as 'cycle beating' that was first used to cheat tests for air pollution."

It adds that a new, "more realistic and robust global test" - the WLTP - is scheduled to be introduced in 2017, but EU countries are yet to confirm the date because they are "under pressure from carmakers that want to be able to keep exploiting the loopholes in the current test rules until at least 2022".

Greg Archer, T&E's clean vehicles manager, said: "The gap between real-world fuel economy and distorted official test results has become a chasm.

"The current test has been utterly discredited by carmakers manipulating official test results. Unless Europe introduces the new global test in 2017 as planned, carmakers will continue to cheat laws designed to improve fuel efficiency and emissions reductions. The cost will be borne by drivers who will pay an additional €5,600 for fuel over the lifetime of the car compared to the official test result."

Download the full T&E Report

2 Degrees, T&E
Peter Thomas

Author:Peter Thomas
Date Updated:19th Nov 2014

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