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Sunday 21 January 2018

Is your car easier on fuel than five years ago? New report says 'No'

Latest data claims that there is a widening gap developing between lab and real-world figures

Comfortable The Mitsubishi Pajero is expected to market from €49,950, which makes it good value for all that is on offer
Comfortable The Mitsubishi Pajero is expected to market from €49,950, which makes it good value for all that is on offer
Fuel guage
Eddie Cunningham

Eddie Cunningham

Your car is nearly as hard on fuel as its predecessor was five years ago, if an updated new report is to be believed.

It says that CO2 emissions are virtually unchanged for the fifth year in a row.

It further claims that emissions have only really fallen by 2pc since 2012.

Critically, it calculates that that translates into €400 a year in extra fuel costs for an average car (I presume over and above the claimed lab results).

The gap between real and laboratory performance is highlighted by the independent International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) in its updated report.

Its data is also analysed by Transport & Environment, the European umbrella group for non-governmental organisations in the field.

While the analysis is a bit of a rant in places (to put it bluntly), the figures are out there so let’s see if they are challenged or disputed.

Basically they say the current laboratory tests to establish emissions levels (they call them ‘fake’, which is a bit strong) are coming up with 11pc improvements in efficiency.

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But, they claim, that is far from being the case, which prompts the 2017 edition of ‘From Laboratory to Road’ to claim that the average gap between real-world fuel consumption and official test results is now at an all-time high across the EU.

Against that, a new, hopefully more accurate, system already kicking in for a small number of cars since September, will narrow the gap.

There is work to be done, for sure, to restore people’s faith in claimed fuel consumption figures.

But there may be a cost as higher real-world figures mean higher official emission levels too. And as road tax and VRT are linked to emissions here, there may be a price to pay.

 Anyway, Transport & Environment’s analysis claims the discrepancy between real and lab numbers has more than quadrupled since 2001 – from 9pc to 42pc in 2016. That’s just too much.

 “More than half of the claimed (on-paper) reductions in carbon emissions since 2001 have not been delivered in the real world,” it is claimed.

Greg Archer, director of clean vehicles and emobility at Transport & Environment, says the report highlights the “abject failure” of the current car CO2 regulations.

The ICCT 2017 update drew on 14 data sources from eight EU countries and analyses fuel economy figures from 1.1 million passenger cars.

The publication of the report is timely as today the European Commission is due to publish proposals to set new limits on car and van CO2 emissions for 2020 and beyond.

The core issue has been how severe the new limits will be.

In anticipation of them for a few years now, manufacturers have been rushing to make more electric vehicles to soften the blow and lessen the impact of more stringent emission regulations.

There have been calls for a 45pc cut in new-car emissions between 2020 and 2030 as well as a mandatory target for zero-emissions vehicles.

* Do you feel your car is easier on fuel than its predecessor five years ago? Let us know: ecunningham@independent.ie


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