In 2015, Volkswagen was infamously revealed to have been cheating emissions tests with hidden software installed in its vehicles. The scandal highlighted a major problem with cars worldwide: When it comes to gas mileage or how much pollution they produce, buyers basically have to take the manufacturer’s word for it.
Australia has decided to address that problem with a new real-world testing program, which just released data for the first nine SUVs tested, the Guardian reported.
Starting in August, the Australian Automobile Association tested nine small and medium SUVs in real-world conditions on Australian roads, the Guardian explained. The tests were held in Geelong, Victoria, and were designed to comply with EU guidelines with the help of Australian regulators and industry experts. The testing accounted for human factors like changes in traffic and different styles of driving to ensure a fair assessment for each vehicle.
Of the models tested, the Hyundai Kona and the Toyota Rav4 received the worst results, each using 13% more fuel than their manufacturers reported based on lab testing. The Mitsubishi ASX, the MG ZS, and the Ford Puma used 8% more fuel, and the Toyota Rav4 Hybrid consumed 2% more fuel.
Only the Nissan X-Trail, the Hyundai Tucson, and the GWM Haval Jolion used less fuel than their lab test results reported.
Why do these results matter?
Fuel efficiency is one of the big factors consumers look at when choosing a car to buy. The more efficient the vehicle, the more money you save on fuel, and it adds up over time. Having accurate information about a car’s fuel usage in real driving conditions is essential for making an informed purchase decision.
The testing also revealed that many of these vehicles produced more pollution than their lab results indicated. That means they’re harming human health and raising the temperature of the planet — and buyers have the right to know.
What’s being done about the issue?
The AAA will continue testing vehicles to give Australian buyers more accurate information about what they’re getting. The $14 million program is intended to test 200 vehicles in the next four years, according to the Guardian, and has already provided data on 30 light vehicles in 2017 as well.
“Australian families and fleet buyers can place their faith in the reliability of these results and now buy vehicles safe in the knowledge that they have the information needed to fully understand a car’s running costs and environmental performance,” Michael Bradley, the managing director of the AAA, said in a statement.
“This program gives consumers the information they need about each car’s fuel efficiency and environmental performance, and it will drive down demand for models that over-promise and under-deliver,” Bradley concluded.
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