Edition 1493
22 September 2018
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Carmakers accused of cheating Portuguese drivers to the tune of €1.6bn

in News · 30-08-2018 09:59:00 · 0 Comments

Portuguese drivers have been cheated to the tune of €1.6 billion because of “widespread manipulation of fuel efficency tests by the car industry.” This revelation was made this week by the European Federation of Transport and Environment (T&E).

Carmakers accused of cheating Portuguese drivers to the tune of €1.6bn

The report reveals that the overall cost to European drivers has come at an extra €149.6 billion for the past 18 years, dating back to the year 2000.
On a national level, this manipulation is said to have cost Portuguese motorists an additional 264 million euros in fuel.
In 2017 alone, this superfluous waste of Europeans’ money was €23.4 billion, which is slightly more than all Portuguese spent on food last year, researchers found.
Since 2000, the manipulation of CO2 tests has produced an additional 264 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent, to slightly more than the annual CO2 emissions of the Netherlands.
German drivers top the ranking with €36 billion wasted since 2000, followed by British motorists with €24.1bn, French (€20.5bn), Italians (€16.4bn) and Spaniards (€12bn). Last year alone, German drivers paid €5.5bn in extra fuel due to carmakers exploiting test loopholes, which is more than double the amount of money Germans spend every year on their most popular street food, currywurst.
The gap between test and real-world performance has leapt from 9 percent in 2000 to 42 percent in 2016 mainly through carmakers manipulating the laboratory test and also through fitting technology (such as start-stop) to cars that deliver much bigger savings in the lab than on the road.
Greg Archer, Clean Vehicles Director at Transport & Environment said: “Carmakers claims of huge progress improving fuel consumption is a scam. Despite regulations to reduce emissions, there has been no real-world improvement in CO2 emissions for five years and just a 10 percent improvement since 2000 - far less than the industry like to claim. The victims are citizens that have paid out €150 billion for more fuel and are also suffering the consequences of unchecked climate change.”
The car industry and the European Commission claim that a new laboratory test (WLTP) will fix the testing problems. But new analysis by T&E, backed up by the Commission’s own Joint Research Centre study, shows it simply introduces new loopholes. By inflating WLTP test results by at least 10g/km the car industry can easily achieve the 15 percent reduction in CO2 emissions proposed by the European Commission by 2025, as the stringency of the target is reduced by at least half.
Effective fixes to stop the cheating are available, such as introducing a real-world test or using data from fuel consumption meters.
T&E analysis shows these would save an additional 108 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent by 2030 and save drivers €54 billion in lower fuel bills compared to the Commission’s current proposal.
Greg Archer added: “The Commission’s inadequate proposal to reduce CO2 emissions from cars and vans after 2020 comes with a new licence for carmakers to keep gaming the system. The result will be EU member states missing their climate targets and drivers continuing to fork out more for fuel. Members of the European Parliament and the EU environment ministers now need to act to prevent the car industry colluding to cheat the rules.”
Raising WLTP values is very unlikely to have happened without carmakers colluding.
Vehicle taxes are linked to CO2 emissions in most countries so elevating WLTP values would result in higher tax rates on those models.
National carmaker associations have been lobbying for member states to raise tax thresholds as a result of the introduction of the WLTP and the raised CO2 values.
If only some carmakers raised WLTP values they would be at a competitive disadvantage compared to those companies that produced representative WLTP CO2 test results.
According to the T&E, it is therefore highly likely that companies have colluded to all ensure that WLTP CO2 values are uplifted by similar amounts so there are no changes in relative competitiveness.

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Edition 1493
22 September 2018
Edition: 1493

Read this week's issue online exactly as it appears in print.

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