30 September 2015
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%.
The call comes amidst the ongoing fall-out from the Volkswagen scandal, with the German car maker admitting that it rigged official emissions tests on more than 11 million vehicles worldwide, impacting certain VW, Audi and Skoda models.
"Australians should be able to trust car-makers' claims on fuel efficiency and environmental performance," says Matt Levey, CHOICE director of campaigns and communications.
"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," Mr Levey says.
CHOICE says it has conducted real-world testing of people movers and SUVs over the past year revealing five cars which guzzled over 30% more fuel per 100km than their manufacturers' claims.
The consumer group says that these on-road tests, combined with dodgy claims being unearthed in the EU and US, indicate a need to rework testing of fuel efficiency claims which consumers rely on when purchasing a car.
"Over a year, this adds up to hundreds of dollars in more expensive fuel bills," Mr Levey says.
"The industry says real-world tests are different to 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%.
"Australia is also the only advanced economy to have no compulsory standards for fuel efficiency or greenhouse emissions. In fact, in 2012, our average greenhouse emissions from new vehicles were 44% higher than Europe.
"Unless we act, Australia could become a dumping ground for more expensive to run, dirty cars.
"We need fuel efficiency claims that Australians can trust, backed by genuinely independent testing and worlds' best standards to help save on household fuel costs," Mr Levey says.
CHOICE wants urgent action to end the fuel rip off:
- VW and other major car manufacturers must come clean on how many Australians are affected by the scandal and offer redress.
- The Australian government must ensure genuinely independent tests for cars sold here.
- Testing procedures must close the growing gap between laboratory and 'real world' performance.
- Australia must adopt compulsory standards for vehicle fuel efficiency and greenhouse emissions so we don't become a dumping ground for dirty, costly-to-run vehicles.
Consumers can sign up to CHOICE's Come Clean campaign at choice.com.au/comeclean.
 Notes to editors:
Results of CHOICE's recent real-world tests of SUVs and people movers are available at the following links:
1. Audi Q5: https://www.choice.com.au/transport/cars/new/articles/audi-q5
2. Mercedes GLA 250 https://www.choice.com.au/transport/cars/new/articles/mercedes-benz-gla
3. Lexus NX200t https://www.choice.com.au/transport/cars/new/articles/lexus-nx200t
4. Volvo XC60 https://www.choice.com.au/transport/cars/new/articles/volvo-xc60
5. BMW X3 https://www.choice.com.au/transport/cars/new/articles/bmw-x3-review