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FIA calls on EU Member States to support new Test Cycle by 2017, as ICCT report shows 25% running cost gap

Press Release

Brussels, 28 May 2013

The gap between official fuel-economy figures and real world running costs has reached 25%, causing motorists to spend an average of €300 per year more on fuel than if the gap were closed, a new International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) report shows. Ten years ago the gap was less than 10 per cent.


These are two key findings of a new report based on data from nearly half a million private and company vehicles across Europe, which was published today by the ICCT, an independent research organisation. The findings come as EU ministers debate whether to tighten the testing procedure, with some countries calling for reforms to be delayed.


“When investing in something as expensive as a car – one of the highest household costs for families – consumers should have certainty on the likely running costs they can expect. The ICCT study shows that the current test procedure is not meeting this objective. The gap between published figures and real world running costs is far from improving, in fact, it continues to get worse”, said Jacob Bangsgaard, FIA Region I Director General. “EU Member States should follow the European Parliament’s lead and support the introduction of a more realistic test cycle for the benefit of consumers and price transparency by 2017”.


The analysis draws on data from a number of different sources: FIA Automobile Clubs - ADAC (Germany) and TCS (Switzerland); user websites (Germany) and (United Kingdom); leasing companies Travelcard (Netherlands) and LeasePlan (Germany); and the consumer magazines WhatCar? (United Kingdom) and QueChoisir (France).


The report says that for the average vehicle owner, the discrepancy translates into about 300 euros additional spending for fuel per year, compared to a situation in where official and real world fuel consumption values were in line. If left uncorrected, this growing gap is bound to both increase distrust among consumers of the official numbers and decrease their willingness to invest in fuel-saving technologies, says the ICCT. And the negative impact extends beyond consumers: for car manufacturers, the playing field becomes increasingly uneven if the gap between on-road and laboratory values grows more for some than others, according to the report.


The report notes that manufacturers measure vehicle fuel consumption in a controlled laboratory environment, using a test procedure called the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC). This procedure was developed in the 1980s and was not originally intended to be used for CO2 emissions testing. A new and more appropriate test procedure, the Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP), has been developed through the United Nations and will shortly be finalised. There is broad agreement that the WLTP will produce more realistic figures, say the ICCT.


At the end of April, the European Parliament decided that the improved test procedure should be introduced by 2017. This decision is currently being questioned by some national governments, seeking to delay introduction of the new procedure until at least 2020. A final outcome of the ongoing discussions is expected for next month.


Notes to the Editor:


From laboratory to road – A comparison of official and ‘real-world’ fuel consumption and CO2 values for cars in Europe and the United States

PDF download here:


Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) Region I office

FIA Region I represents 108 Touring and Motoring Clubs in Europe, the Middle East and Africa from its Brussels office, which total more than 38 million members. The FIA represents the interest of these members as motorists, public transport users, pedestrians and tourists. The FIA’s primary goal is to secure a mobility that is safe, affordable, sustainable and efficient. With these aims in mind the work focuses on road safety, consumer protection, environmental protection, and the promotion of sustainable motoring.


The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT)

The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) is an independent nonprofit organisation founded to provide first-rate, unbiased research and technical and scientific analysis to environmental regulators. The ICCT participants’ council comprises high-level civil servants, academic researchers, and independent transportation and environmental policy experts, who come together at regular intervals to collaborate as individuals on setting a global agenda for clean transportation. ICCT was founded in 2005, and has offices in Berlin and Brussels, as well as in the US and China. It is funded principally by private foundations, such as the ClimateWorks Foundation in the US and Stiftung Mercator in Europe.

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