Car manufacturers that sell the majority of gas-guzzlers in Europe manipulate fuel economy figures in tests much more than those makers that produce more fuel-efficient vehicles, a new report by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) reveals. The report adds new evidence to a series of recent studies that show the gap between official test results and the fuel consumption drivers experience on the road is rapidly increasing year-on-year.
The study compares, for the first time, the progress made by carmakers on official and real-world fuel consumption over the last ten years in Europe.
Luxury car brand BMW captures top-spot, reporting fuel efficiency figures that are on average
30 % lower than in real-life. This means that a buyer of a typical BMW car will burn on average around a third more fuel than claimed in the brochure and on labels in dealerships.
Audi ranks second with a ‘real v. claimed’ gap as wide as 28%, followed by Opel/Vauxhall (27%) and Mercedes (26%). At the bottom of the table, Toyota’s manipulation of emissions tests produces official fuel economy figures that are just 15% lower than the real-world performance of its vehicles, while Renault’s and Peugeot Citroën’s (PSA) figures are on average 16% lower.
In 2005, the difference between reported and real-world fuel consumption for BMW was 12%. By 2011, this gap had more than doubled, rising to 30%. In comparison, Peugeot Citroën, producer of smaller vehicles, saw its gap increase from 12% to 16% over the same period. This suggests that the growing difference cannot be attributed to a change in driving style, but rather to further manipulation of test results by carmakers.
On average, new cars’ official fuel efficiency figures are about 25% lower than their real-world fuel consumption. ICCT’s analysis also shows just 2% of German drivers matched the official fuel economy figures in 2011.
Transport & Environment clean vehicles manager Greg Archer said: “Car buyers in Europe need reliable fuel consumption figures to make informed purchase decisions. Carmakers aren’t delivering. European politicians need to end the current manipulation of fuel economy data.”