Consumer advocacy group Choice is calling for car companies to come clean on their fuel-economy claims following road tests that show some cars exceeded their claimed fuel consumption by more than 30 per cent.
The call comes amid the fallout from the Volkswagen scandal, with the German car maker admitting it rigged official emissions tests on more than 11 million vehicles worldwide, affecting certain VW, Audi and Skoda models.
“Australians should be able to trust car makers’ claims on fuel efficiency and environmental performance,” Choice Director of Campaigns and Communications Matt Levey said. “The VW scandal shows that we can’t trust the car industry to self-regulate. We need the Government to enforce independent testing and on-road checking of car makers’ claims.”
Choice says it has conducted real-world testing of ‘people movers’ and SUVs over the past year, revealing five cars that guzzled more than 30 per cent more fuel per 100km than the amount claimed by their manufacturers.
The consumer group says these on-road tests, combined with false claims being unearthed in EU countries and the US, indicate a need to rework testing of fuel-efficiency claims that consumers rely on when purchasing a car.
“Over a year, this adds up to hundreds of dollars in more expensive fuel bills,” Mr Levey said. “The industry says real-world tests are different to [those undertaken in] the laboratory, but new research from Europe shows the gap between car makers’ claims and real-world performance keeps growing and is now at 40 per cent.”
Choice is calling for urgent action to end the “fuel rip-off”, including genuinely independent test for cars sold in Australia and the adoption of compulsory standards for vehicle fuel efficiency and greenhouse emissions.