The EU needs to reform its car testing system which currently produces delusional fuel economy figures because it's so easy to manipulate, according to the National Trust for Ireland.

Fuel use in new cars is 23 per cent above car manufacturers' claims - as are emissions levels - according to An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland, because loopholes in the EU's procedures for testing new cars are so large and gaping that car makers can drive a coach-and-four through them.

"The reason motorists don't see fuel economy claims translate into reality is that car makers are gaming the vehicle testing system ", according to James Nix, Director of An Taisce - the National Trust for Ireland, adding that "it's an easy system to manipulate because manufacturers do things during the fuel cycle test that drivers would never do".

Examples of what manufactures do include:

tape over the gaps between the doors; over-inflate the tyres; test at altitude; disconnect the alternator;
use Formula 1-grade lubricant, and remove items that can be detached from the car, right down to the mirror on the passenger side. All these practices were today revealed in new report published by Transport & Environment, an EU-wide federation working to reduce energy use and emissions in transport, of which An Taisce is a member.

An Taisce is not saying car makers are breaking any rules. "They aren't breaking any rules here", noted An Taisce; "the loopholes loom so large that car manufacturers can massage fuel economy results without being in formal breach of EU rules".

The environment organisations have called on the EU to take four steps to clean up the system:

Close the loopholes immediately and re-test cars under the corrected system, Work to deliver globally consistent fuel and emissions testing by 2016 (against industry lobbying to delay this until 2021),
Revise the structure of EU car testing so that car makers do not pay test centres directly but instead contribute to a central fund, and Reform car labelling in the EU's Directive so that it reflects real-world results, something achieved in recent US legislation on car and van performance. "The EU risks growing cynicism and disillusionment over its fuel efficiency testing unless it moves quickly to revise the system", according to An Taisce's Operations Director, James Nix. "It will not be possible to buy or use vehicles which match up to their claimed efficiency unless and until a credible system is put in place", he concluded.


For further information, please call:

Charles Stanley-Smith, An Taisce Communications – Tel: 087 2411995

James Nix, An Taisce – Tel: 086 8394129

Email: [email protected]

An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland

Notes: Graphic: ‘Common ways carmakers manipulate tests for CO2 emissions’ There is a direct correlation between fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. The more fuel a car burns, the more CO2 emissions it emits to the atmosphere.