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Test cycle not giving realistic measurements on fuel consumption, say consumers

Press Release

Brussels, 13 December 2012

The current system for measuring CO2 emission limits of new passenger cars is not realistic, leading to higher than expected fuel consumption, say the FIA in a letter sent to Transport Commissioner Antonio Tajani today, which was co-signed by fellow consumer organisations BEUC and ANEC. This has a direct negative impact on both the environment and consumer.

“We are concerned that the gap between the measurement of emissions during type approval and the level of real world emissions have increased from about 8% in 2001 to 21% today,” said Jacob Bangsgaard, FIA Region I Director General. “As a result, the EU’s ambitious CO2 reduction targets may not have their desired impact and consumers are currently likely to be misled on the fuel savings they expect”, he said. The quoted figures come from a recent International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) investigation carried out over 28,000 user entries (see Notes to the Editor for details) .

The current test procedure takes place in laboratory conditions, and does not account for everyday usage factors such as the ‘cold starting’ of an engine, mileage covered on motorways, use of air conditioning, etc. The consumer organisations are calling for more to be done to ensure that such flexibilities are reduced in order to ensure a more realistic test cycle.

In order to address this problem, the letter proposes that a new test cycle at UNECE level should be introduced as from 2016. This would allow consumers to get more accurate data on the fuel consumption they should expect, thereby supporting the EU’s ambitions environmental goals for 2020.

Key points from the letter:


  • “As consumers’ representatives, ANEC, BEUC and FIA Region I are concerned about the growing gap between the measurement of emissions during type approval and the level of real world emissions.”

  • “The test cycle and test procedure therefore need a thorough overhaul. As an immediate action, we urge you to ensure the limitation of the possibility of exploiting flexibilities and tolerances in the current test procedure as a matter of urgency.”

  • “As consumer organisations, we look forward to endorsing the introduction of the new test procedure by 2016 at the latest, provided that it genuinely reflects real world conditions and does not allow loopholes. In addition, we feel there is a need to significantly strengthen both compliance testing and sanctions by the authorities in case of non-compliance.”

Download the full letter here.

Notes to the Editor

The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT)
compared the CO2 emissions measured by the current procedure - the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) - at type approval with real world values. Undertaking an analysis of more than 28,000 user entries of the German fuel consumption database, the ICCT found that the gap between type-approval and “real-world” fuel consumption / CO2 values has increased from about 8% in 2001 to 21% today, with a particularly strong increase since 2007. The study is available here.

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

FIA Region I represents 106 Touring and Motoring Clubs in Europe, the Middle East and Africa from its Brussels office, which total more than 36 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.

For more information, please contact Niall Carty, Communications Manager, FIA Region I: or 02 282 0812

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