Sunday 24 September 2017

Why your car may not be as 'green' as its maker claims

Monique Goyens
Monique Goyens
Louise McBride

Louise McBride

Drivers could be paying €500 more a year for their petrol than they expect because of the tricks that some car manufacturers get up to to make their cars look more fuel-efficient than they are, an investigation has found.

The investigation, by the Italian consumer watchdog, Altroconsumo, found that some car manufacturers had claimed that their cars were as much as 50pc more fuel efficient that they actually were.

Manufacturers used tricks such as overinflating tyres or reducing the weight of a car to come up with a significantly lower fuel consumption figure than would be the case in a real-life driving situation, according to Altroconsumo.

"Consumers buying supposedly efficient cars are misled too often," said Monique Goyens, director general of the consumer lobby group, the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC). "If a car guzzles two litres more than advertised, consumers pay the price for what is essentially a company's green marketing trick. Because of the loopholes in the existing European fuel consumption testing protocol, car manufacturers can easily manipulate the results to provide completely unrealistic fuel consumption claims. Those who want to make a fuel-conscious decision when buying cars deserve accurate information."

This is the first time that an independent consumer organisation has conducted official fuel consumption tests on cars, according to BEUC.

The investigation also found that some manufacturers had claimed that their cars were emitting a lot less carbon dioxide than was the case.

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