The great fuel consumption scam: Growing evidence demands EU action

Last month, BEUC’s Italian member revealed the astonishing results of an investigation into the dirty practices conducted by car makers when testing a vehicle’s fuel consumption. The findings however did not show the full picture as recent evidence also indicates that car manufacturers are not only well drilled at manipulating the tests, they are also getting better at it.

In what now must be a deeply unsettling annual report for EU decision makers to read over, the International Council on Clean Transportation has shown that the gap between official and real fuel consumption values from Europe’s passenger car fleet has been growing and continues to accelerate.

(Note: CO2 emissions and fuel consumption are directly proportional)

There is however a solution to this. A new testing method combined with stronger checks can be implemented under EU law by 2017.

And if we consider the media response to Altroconsumo’s findings as an indication of public interest in this matter, then the hundreds of column inches dedicated to this topic over the past two weeks would alone suggest action is needed.

Still, EU decision makers have more than just consumer discontent to consider: The failings of the existing testing method also heavily undermine the EU’s Climate targets.

If we cannot properly assess the performance of the automobile sector to cut its carbon footprint then we cannot know for certain whether they are on track to meet Europe’s climate targets for 2015 and 2020.

This perverse situation must be tackled urgently and will also need the support of car makers. The million dollar question of course is whether or not they are prepared to come clean and support the 2017 implementation date.

BEUC and our members will be watching very closely.