Emissions test ‘gaming’ costs motorists thousands in additional fuel costs

Posted on August 30, 2018 at 10:04 am

Anyone with a keen interest in cars will know that it’s rare for a modern vehicle to be able to achieve its published MPG figures under what most of us consider normal driving conditions, and often with some quite considerable variations. Speaking as a regular road tester, it’s something I assess in every vehicle I drive – what does it take to get or beat the published MPG?

Much of this can be put down to the now-defunct NEDC testing system, which was a laboratory based standardised testing system, that perhaps poorly reflected the nature of real-world driving. Or rather, much can be put down to manufacturers response to it. Whilst this is now being replaced as we speak with the more realistic (albeit still laboratory-based) WLTP system, manufacturers have been used to gaming these tests for years.

In the most extreme example, you have the defeat software as used in the Volkswagen emissions scandal, but the system-gaming runs much deeper; manufacturers will test vehicles with overly hard tyres, remove absolutely any unnecessary components, ensure any non-essential electrical loads are disabled, and so-on, all designed to ensure that the machine performs as best as it can in test conditions.

It would be naïve to expect this to end under the new system.


Posted in Cars