The Australian Automobile Association (AAA) has challenged the federal government over its claims that motorists will benefit from having to spend less on fuel with the introduction of stricter emissions standards.
As part of the country's first on-road vehicle emissions test program, the AAA examined cars which registered results up to 60 per cent higher than their government-regulated fuel consumption and CO2 emissions figures.
Of the 30 vehicles assessed, 17 were trialled on Australian roads, with results exceeding the government-mandated Fuel Consumption Label by 25 per cent on average.
It was also concluded during the examination that on-road greenhouse gas emissions were up to eight times the legal limit, which is reminiscent of the Volkswagen Group 'Dieselgate' scandal.
Only one of the Aussie-tested cars – a Euro 4-rated diesel – returned real-world figures below that of its economy and emissions claims, achieving a variance of -4.0 per cent.
Our test results are a warning to Australians to take the government’s promises of fuel and cost savings with a grain of salt.
According to AAA chief executive Michael Bradley, these alarming outcomes have brought into disrepute the manufacturer-issued and government-backed information provided to consumers, as well as the advantages of the proposed new regulations.
"Our test results are a warning to Australians to take the government’s promises of fuel and cost savings with a grain of salt, and expect those savings to be significantly less than what’s promised," he said.
"(This) on-road testing is further evidence that the assumptions upon which the government is basing its vehicle emissions reductions proposals are flawed, and may end up costing Australians more than necessary, and deliver less to the environment than promised."
Mr Bradley acknowledged that while motorists must play a role in reducing their environmental impact, they should not be financially disadvantaged for it.
"Emissions policy must deliver for the environment at the least cost to motorists and the economy," he said.
"The AAA and Australia’s motoring clubs again call on the government to update its modelling, undertake further public consultation and introduce real-world driving testing for new vehicles in Australia."
In December last year, the AAA issued a different report which instead concerned the current New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) and brought into question its accuracy as a global standard due to similar results from real-world testing overseas.
How important is fuel economy to you when purchasing a new car? Tell us what you think in the comments below.