12 March 2018
CHOICE is renewing its call for real world testing of vehicle fuel efficiency following new research that found Volkswagen's recalled and "fixed" cars are using more fuel and emitting more noxious emissions than allowed under Australian standards.
The tests, conducted by the Australian Automobile Association (AAA), found an affected VW diesel vehicle used up to 14% more diesel after recall, and emitted noxious emissions more than 400% higher than levels observed in laboratory testing.
"These findings are deeply concerning and it seems clear VW has no intention of ending its smoke screen around emissions," says CHOICE campaigns and policy team lead Katinka Day.
"The fact that recalled VWs are using more fuel after being 'fixed' shows an urgent need to update the process used for testing cars sold in Australia.
"The more than 90,000 VW car owners caught up in this scandal deserve urgent answers from VW as to why their repaired cars still are using more fuel and emitting more noxious emissions than Australian standards allow."
The consumer group's call comes as a Ministerial Forum on Vehicle Emissions is soon to report back on fuel efficiency measures to address emissions from motor vehicles.
"It's paramount that the Ministerial Forum's report into a fuel efficiency standard is backed by real world testing so car companies can't mislead consumers," Ms Day says.
"Calculating fuel use in a lab does little to help consumers understand the running and environmental costs of the cars they're buying. Lab tests have also produced inconsistent results which make realistic comparisons nearly impossible.
"With the cost of fuel remaining one of the biggest household cost-of-living concerns, consumers need to be able to trust that the advertised fuel consumption is accurate.
"It's time Australia follows the lead of other jurisdictions such as the EU and adopts real-world driving tests for emissions," says Ms Day.
Thousands of Australians have already written to the Minister for Urban Infrastructure and Cities, Paul Fletcher MP, calling for trustworthy fuel efficiency claims through a CHOICE campaign.
Click here to help end the fuel rip-off and join CHOICE's call for real world testing.
Tom Godfrey, CHOICE Head of Media and Spokesperson - 0430 172 669 - @choice_news
In September 2015, it emerged that VW had installed software code, known as a defeat device, in many of its diesel vehicles, which allowed them to cheat U.S. emissions testing. The software detected when a vehicle was being tested and produced compliant results, which were far lower than the emissions produced during normal driving.
In February last year, CHOICE and Consumer Reports, the independent, nonprofit organisation based in the United States, called for affected Australian consumers to receive proper compensation and the option to receive a refund, as is the case in the United States. VW has continued to steer clear of such measures.