On the road during lockdown

Here's what motorists should know.

Meet Smokey Nagata

The man behind the legendary twin-turbo V12 Toyota Supra build.

Diesel crisis: Car emissions tests vs real world

2015-09-28 15:30

VW UNDER FIRE: Volkswagen cars park at a closed dealer in Milan, Italy. It seems many automakers could be guilty of falsifying emissions data.Image: AP / Luca Bruno

Brussels, Belgium - New European cars are spewing out on average 40% more carbon dioxide than laboratory tests show, an environmental campaign group said on Monday, saying Volkswagen's rigging of emissions tests was only part of much wider cheating.

Volkswagen, the world's biggest automaker, has to admitted using software known as a defeat device to ensure it passed US testing for nitrogen oxides  and said 11 million of its vehicles are fitted with it.

The new report from Transport & Environment (T&E), which works closely with the European Commission, said its data did not prove other automakers were using such devices.

Read - Beyond Volkswagen: 8 companies that have behaved badly

It said the gap between lab results and road performance had grown for emissions of carbon dioxide, as well as nitrogen oxides, to such an extent that further investigation was needed to discover what automakers were doing to mask CO2 emissions.

More automakers lying?

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

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

T&E has worked for years to publicise the gap between lab results and real-world driving, producing an initial report in 1998.

In a statement on Monday (Sept 28), it 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.

New legislation

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

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

The analysis found the gap between official test results for CO2 and the real world rose to 40% on average in 2014 from 8% in 2001 for EU cars.

Read: Beyond Volkswagen: 8 companies that have behaved badly

For some models it was higher.

Mercedes-Benz vehicles had an average gap between test and real-world performance of 48% and their new A, C and E class models more than 50%.

"The Volkswagen scandal was just the tip of the iceberg," Greg Archer, clean vehicles manager at T&E, said, adding the CO2 gap costs a typical driver $504 per year.

Only Japan's Toyota would have met the industry's 2015 EU target of 130g/km CO2 emissions without exploiting test flexibilities, T&E said.

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

ACEA, the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association, which represents top automakers, has said there is no evidence the use of defeat devices, illegal in the EU, is an industry-wide issue.

In a statement on Monday, it said the current test regime was developed in the 1980s and 1990s and therefore did not take account of new technologies that can affect fuel consumption. It added it supported the development of updated testing.

More on VW emissions scandal:

Diesel crisis: 2.1 million Audis affected
VW's diesel crisis: 'I want to turn in my vehicle'
'Tsunami' of legal trouble for VW emissions saga
Emissions scandal: Now SA affected?
VW turns to Porsche boss to steer it out of crisis
Emissions scandal: How VW's 'defeat device' works
Emissions scandal: BMW implicated?
VW to start firings over emissions scandal
VW CEO resigns: 'Stunned by misconduct
NOx gasses in diesel cars: Why are they so dangerous?
#Dieselgate: Internet reacts to VW scandal
Not just VW: 5 major car industry scandals
Emissions scandal: Porsche head to replace VW chief?
VW chief on emissions scandal: 'We screwed up'
Seoul summons VW over emissions scandal
VW emissions scandal: What does it mean for SA?
Huge VW, Audi recall: Diesel car sales stopped

Read more on:    toyota  |  mercedes  |  volkswagen  |  bmw  |  emissions scandal

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.