A new car industry scandal is about to get born in Europe, as it’s been found that car manufacturers are usually exaggerating the emission figures of their new cars. The finding is attributed to the European Commission and the study has been carried out by Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), British-based AEA Ricardo and IHS Global Insight, of the United States.
Car manufacturers in Europe seem to be exploiting test loopholes, such as using tires with lower rolling resistance and higher pressure or hypermiling (driving like a granny on super-flat, ideal surfaces). This, they say, could account for up to 33% drop in the carbon emissions reported on the car’s sticker.
“Frankly, people should be absolutely outraged. This is just taking money out of people’s pockets. The industry is running rings around this procedure,” an EU source told Reuters under anonymity.
From 2016 onward, new tests should reduce the exploitation of these loopholes and minimize the gap between the actual numbers and the official ones.
One of the TNO consultants, Richard Smokers, said that “In Europe, we have a tradition of finding and exploiting bandwidths and loopholes,” while emphasizing the much more correct attitude of the U.S. and Japan towards the emission reduction goals.
Now, my opinion: I think the report, even if it has its strengths, is itself exaggerating these carbon emission figures and the comparison of EU cars with U.S. cars. Living in Europe, I’ve rarely heard any European complaining about his car’s fuel efficiency or that he’s been lied to by VW, Mercedes, or Fiat, with high MPG numbers (by the way, here we count them in liters/100 kilometers).
Really, when the U.S. had 5-liter engines guzzling gas not more than five years ago, European diesel cars used to achieve 50mpg, on average. Even older models performed well (with the proper emissions, of course).
So, here comes this study made by an “international” committee, which (I don’t know why) includes U.S. members to rail against European manufacturers. Fair or not, I don’t completely agree with the politics behind this. They should have recruited the Japanese instead, they’re known to be more upstanding than anyone else (and their cars more reliable).
The car makers are still expected to reply to this.