'Fixed' dieselgate VWs are burning more fuel, test finds

Real-world pollution levels still exceed Australian standards.

  • "Fixed" VWs still exceeding Australian pollution standards
  • Burning 7% more diesel on average
  • Comes as VW faces trio of Federal Court cases

Volkswagens treated with the 'Dieselgate' software fix still emit 400% more pollutants and use more fuel in the real world, a study claims.

The findings come as VW defends its use of defeat devices in three Federal Court actions, brought against it by the ACCC and two class-action firms.

The Australian Automobile Association (AAA), in partnership with the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile, conducted tests on a diesel VW before and after it was treated with the company's software fix.

VW released the fix in 2015 to correct the engine performance of 11 million cars worldwide, so that they meet previously duped emission regulations.

But testing found a European-specced 2010 VW Golf emitted 411% more toxic "noxious" gas in the real world than in a laboratory.

The car also burned 7% more fuel after being fitted with the software fix. This meant the VW consumed 26% more than its advertised fuel consumption.

Diesel use increased by 2% on city roads, 7% on country roads and 14% on highways.

The test found overall power and torque had improved slightly, though it's unclear if the increased performance will have any effect on the engine's reliability or longevity.

The results highlight a need for cars to be tested in the real world, says the AAA.

"There is no point in introducing tougher vehicle emissions standards in a laboratory setting unless information on real-world performance is in the hands of consumers," a spokesperson says.

The increased fuel use will hurt the wallets of families, says Katinka Day, campaigns and policy team lead at CHOICE.

"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," she says.

"It's time Australia follows the lead of other jurisdictions such as the EU and adopt real-world driving tests for emissions."

Volkswagen has launched a buyback program in the US, but denies that Australians are entitled to the same remedies.

The findings come as the federal government is to deliver a report on measures that address fuel emissions and efficiency from motor vehicles.