Australian cars use more fuel and emit more fumes than advertised, says AAA

Australian Automobile Association says it found fuel consumption is up to 35% higher and emissions up to four times higher than claimed

Australian cars are consuming up to 35% more fuel and emitting four times more noxious gas than their manufacturers claim, according to a new study.

The Australian Automobile Association has released a report saying 10 popular car models used more fuel in real-world tests than in the lab-controlled results on fuel efficiency labels.

The CEO of the AAA, Michael Bradley, is pushing for mandatory on-road testing and says the report is designed to inform two government reviews, as well as the ministerial forum into fuel emissions, which was established shortly after the 2015 European Volkswagon emissions scandal.

The AAA’s report discovered that on average, fuel efficiency labels underestimated fuel consumption by 20%.

“The discrepancy between official figures and the real world fuel consumption figures has been increasing over time, most likely as a result of manufacturers optimising technologies to ensure compliance with their CO2 obligations,” it said.

Bradley told the ABC’s AM: “We’re seeing up to about 35% difference between what the sticker says and what the car actually uses.

“We’re not saying the information being presented is wrong. It’s just that there’s clearly a very big difference between what a car does in a laboratory and when you drive it round on the streets of Melbourne.”

Bradley told AM that the AAA would like to see the Australian system brought into line with international and European standards. Starting from September 2017, the European Union will require on-road testing rather than laboratory conditions.

“What we’re saying to the Australian government is we should be doing real world emission testing in Australia … that’s what consumers deserve.”

The government is considering tightening emissions regulations. An impact statement is due to be released assessing the possibility of a transition to new stricter European standards, known as “Euro 6”. Australia currently uses the “Euro 5” standard, which was introduced in 2009.

The forum into fuel emissions is also due to release a report on 31 March that outlines a draft plan for new measures. Launched at the end of October 2015, the forum accepted submissions from stakeholders until 8 April this year.

A strongly-worded submission from consumer advocacy group Choice advised the government to bring in “stringent real-world testing”.

“Without a reliable standard on emissions … Australia risks becoming a dumping ground for inefficient and dirty cars, costing consumers at the pump,” the report read.

It also noted that 89% of consumers considered fuel efficiency rating an important factor in deciding which make of car to purchase.

A submission from Toyota Australia also revealed the car manufacturer “supports the introduction of Euro 6 emissions standards” and “supports a testing regime which aims to reduce real-world emissions”.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission are also conducting a market study into car retail sales and hosting a forum in Melbourne on Tuesday to discuss the accuracy of fuel efficiency labels.

The AAA’s tests were conducted on public roads in Brisbane and Melbourne, in 83 kilometre trips split into one third urban, one third rural and one third freeway.

Contributor

Naaman Zhou

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
New cars much less fuel efficient than manufacturers claim, research finds
Australian Automobile Association finds fuel use on average 25% higher than claimed on consumption label displayed on new cars

Christopher Knaus

26, Mar, 2017 @10:31 PM

Article image
Drones and driverless trucks: can Australian truckies stave off job threat?
Experts predict autonomous vehicles will save money and lives but drivers say human knowledge and experience are irreplaceable

Max Opray

28, May, 2017 @11:47 PM

Article image
Uber for couriers: Australian logistics software promises to minimise traffic and emissions
Delivery vehicles are major greenhouse gas emitters but new software reroutes trucks with real-time data and machine learning

Myles Gough

23, Aug, 2016 @1:08 AM

Article image
Diesel cars emit 10 times more toxic pollution than trucks and buses, data shows
Stricter EU emissions testing for large vehicles means modern diesel cars produce 10 times more NOx per litre of fuel

Damian Carrington

06, Jan, 2017 @6:01 AM

Article image
Many car brands emit more pollution than Volkswagen, report finds
Diesel cars by Fiat, Suzuki and Renault among makers emitting up to fifteen times European standard for nitrogen oxide

Zoe Wood

19, Sep, 2016 @5:01 AM

Article image
Tears and bittersweet memories as Ford shuts the doors on its Australian factories
On Friday the 600 remaining Ford factory workers in Broadmeadows and Geelong will finish the last Australian-made Falcon

Calla Wahlquist

06, Oct, 2016 @7:07 PM

Article image
Not coming to a showroom near you: the new electric cars Australia will miss out on
Munich motor show showcases the latest EVs from Europe – but they’re unlikely to make their way here anytime soon

Royce Kurmelovs

10, Sep, 2021 @8:00 PM

Article image
Transport infrastructure costs blew out by $28bn in 15 years, says Grattan Institute
Major projects cost 24% more than promised due to premature announcement before full cost assessments, analysis finds

Paul Karp

23, Oct, 2016 @5:30 PM

Article image
Q&A: Australia's immigration rate should be cut in half, Bob Carr says
Former foreign affairs minister says the benefits of immigration could be preserved but effects managed by slowing down rate

Anne Davies

12, Mar, 2018 @11:13 PM

Article image
Australian business should cut less, grow more, fund manager says
IFM Investors calls for focus on long-term revenue growth, and supports BHP’s pledge to curb carbon emissions

Ben Butler

29, Jul, 2019 @6:50 AM