Real world emissions testing commitment win for consumers

Australia’s peak motoring body says Federal Labor’s Powering Australia Plan is right to focus on policies that protect choice, reduce motoring taxation, and improve consumer information.

While the AAA would have also welcomed the inclusion of an Australian vehicle CO2 standard, the AAA strongly supports the Plan’s inclusion of a ‘real world’ vehicle testing scheme which will dramatically improve consumer information, reduce vehicle running costs, improve air quality, and reduce Australian vehicle emissions.

AAA Managing Director Michael Bradley said: “The establishment of a ‘real world’ emissions test would be a huge win for Australian families and businesses and form the logical first step in any long-term approach to reduce emissions from Australia’s transport sector.

“The Volkswagen scandal has taught us that new vehicle technologies are being built to not just comply with laboratory test requirements, but also to cheat them. If we want to reduce vehicle emissions and fuel costs for Australians, then we need to test in the real world as well as the laboratory.”

In the wake of the Volkswagen scandal, real world testing programs have been established in several overseas markets to catch emissions cheats and improve consumer information. The AAA continues to call for bipartisan support for the establishment of an Australian real world test program capable of providing consumers and fleet buyers with both accurate information on vehicle emissions and fuel consumption, and the confidence they currently lack.

A 2017 AAA pilot study used the European Union’s real world emissions methodology to test 30 popular Australian cars and found they used up to 59% more fuel than advertised. It also found cars emitted noxious emissions such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides at more than six-times Australia’s regulatory limits.

Mr Bradley said: “Reporting real world performance will inform consumers and ultimately crush demand for cars that fail to deliver promised fuel savings and environmental performance.

“Australians desire a clean environment, but with petrol prices hitting $2 per litre, and the average Australian city household now paying more than $20,000 on annual transport costs, voters also want policies that reduce cost-of-living pressures. That is why Australian consumers deserve to know how much fuel a car will use on an Australian road, not just what score it achieved in a foreign laboratory.”

The AAA represents Australia’s state-based motoring clubs and their 8.5 million members. For more than 100 years, our clubs have been Australia’s most recognised and trusted voices on transport safety, affordability, and sustainability.

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