The European Commission has, it seems, accused manufacturers of being economical with the truth, with regards to their emissions testing. Not so economical, it seems! Official tests have been rigged, it is thought, so as to avoid taxes and meet environmental targets.
An EC report suggests that various methods have been employed by manufacturers to lower CO2 figures by as much as 11% lower than they are said to actually produce in real driving conditions. It is claimed that manufacturers tweak testing methods to achieve this result. Examples include using smaller wheels so as to reduce rolling resistance and increase the MPG. Another way was that manufacturers tested cars which had fully charged batteries.
Vehicle modifications are not the only problems. The test track in Spain, used by nearly all manufacturers due to it receiving the best fuel economy figures, has many hills.. going downwards. In addition, the vehicles do not have to drive back along the same road, merely in the opposite direction. Both directions may therefore be downhill, not a representative reading overall then!
There have also been reports of the cars being tested with only the driving seat and the rest being stripped out, as well as all the gaps being taped up to lower the air resistance. These practices are being used throughout the car manufacturing industry with no fingers being pointed at any specific manufacturers yet.
Whilst it is easy to condemn manufacturers for such practices, making accusations of dishonesty and malpractice, we must consider this: The fact that all manufacturers are conducting fuel economy testing in this way indicates that the regulating authorities should be as much to blame. It would be industrial suicide for a manufacturer not to test their vehicles in these ways, and it is now time that an independent authority of some sort tests the vehicles instead.
Luckily, rigorous testing is in place to ensure that crash testing is done as accurately as possible, so we can rest assured that our car insurance quotes reflect that!