New report shows chasm between car test results and real world

A report by an environmental campaign group reveals new European cars are spewing out more carbon dioxide than laboratory tests show.

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM (SEPTEMBER 28, 2015) (REUTERS) – New European cars are spewing out on average 40 percent more carbon dioxide than laboratory tests show, an environmental campaign group said on Monday (September 28), saying Volkswagen’s rigging of emissions tests was only part of much wider cheating.

“What we found is that there is a really big growing gap between the official test results and the real world performance that people are actually getting. And on average that gap is now 40 percent. But for some manufacturers the gap is a great deal bigger, for example, we know that on average Mercedes cars now are achieving a gap of 48 percent,”

Programme manager at T&E Greg Archer said.

The group’s report showed Mercedes cars had an average gap between test and real-world performance of 48 percent and their new A, C and E class models more than 50 percent.

Archer said the gap was too wide to explain through well-known practices that have been tolerated in testing, such as taping up car doors to reduce wind resistance and using special driving surfaces and tyres.

Volkswagen, the world’s biggest carmaker, had admitted using software known as a defeat device to ensure it passed U.S. testing for nitrogen oxides and said 11 million of its cars had been fitted with it.

The environmental group, which works closely with the European Commission, said its data did not prove other carmakers were using such devices.

Archer called for the EU’s executive arm to verify if other cars available in the European Market had been equipped with such software.

“So what we are now calling on is for the European type approval authorities and the European Commission to really start to investigate these vehicles to make sure that they don’t have any kind of suspect software fitted to them,” Archer said.

T&E’s analysis is based on work with the International Council on Clean Transportation, which helped to expose Volkswagen in the United States.

Their analysis also found some new EU cars, including Mercedes, BMW and Peugeot vehicles, were using around 50 percent more fuel than manufacturers claimed.

Archer said a typical driver would spend 450 euros a year more than he would expect by basing his calculations on the manufacturers’ claims.

He estimates to a trillion euros the extra amount Europeans will spend in fuel between now and 2030.

“Cumulatively that adds up to about a trillion euros of oil that European consumers will be buying, which they shouldn’t need to by 2030. Now that money is being spent putting fuel in our cars, it could be being spent in shops, in restaurants, in cinemas,” Archer said.

Fuel-use is also associated with carbon dioxide production, so greater fuel use means higher emissions of the greenhouse gas.

Only Japan’s Toyota would have met the industry’s 2015 EU target of 130 grams of CO2 per kilometre without exploiting test flexibilities, T&E said.

The target is tightened to 95 g/km by 2021 after carmakers were given an extra year to meet the new goal following an intervention by German Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2013.

The European Commission has proposed new legislation to narrow the gap and members of the European Parliament last week voted through an amendment to try to ensure it is approved on schedule and not diluted by lobbying.