Sunday 23 October 2016

Why we're all to blame for how cars are tested

Published 11/11/2015 | 02:30

The current car testing system needs an overhaul.
The current car testing system needs an overhaul.

The Volkswagen scandal has re-focused attention on how our cars are tested for fuel consumption. But will anything properly meaningful come of it?

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Everyone knows the current system needs a major overhaul. But even with all the clamour, is there a real appetite for it?

It can be argued there isn't - not where it matters anyway. And that, I have to say, includes most car owners.

Sure, we're going to get tougher tests in a couple of years, or so we're promised. But does anyone believe it will make that much of a difference? Many don't think so. Many believe a far more radical system is required.

The EU's industry commissioner, Elzbieta Bienkowska, makes a reasonable demand in wanting the European Commission to have oversight powers over type approval tests for cars.

Campaigners advocate a single supervisory body, equivalent to the Environmental Protection Authority in the US, with real clout and credibility.

Elzbieta is frank in admitting the Commission "can't do much". It needs "some sort of supervisory powers" over national controls, she says.

Funny isn't it how we are supervised and checked on, and in, so many other areas, but one that affects our pockets and our health to such an extent is so loosely regulated?

I think a key problem is that the public, until now anyway, doesn't give the matter too much thought or care. So long as their cars are safe and are reasonable on fuel, they're not that bothered. That is especially the case with sometime outlandish MPG claims that mean lower emissions - which translates into less VRT and road tax. We are all culpable if we are being honest.

It means, however, we miss a core issue: our cars are polluting at higher levels than the testing system suggests. Just how much we don't know. But I think we deserve to. Do you? Or are you happy to let things be?

Indo Motoring

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