Which? claims the majority of petrol, diesel & hybrid vehicles emit more pollution on the road than emission tests permit.
Diesels, Petrols & Hybrids pollute more on roads than in tests
Most of Britain's diesel, petrol and hybrid cars emit more pollution than regulations permit when evaluated via real roads rather than in laboratories, Which? says.
The self-styled consumer champion claims 95% of diesel vehicles – plus 10% of petrols – produce more nitrogen oxide (NOx) than permitted under the emission tests that have to be passed before launch. 65% of petrols, in contrast, emit more carbon monoxide (CO) than allowed under 2006 regulations.
Which? also says most petrol/diesel hybrid powered cars fail to meet recent emission regulations. Furthermore, some tested models fail Euro 1 standards which came into effect in 1993.
300+ vehicles tested for real life emission output
Which? evaluated data from more than 300 of the vehicles it has tested since 2012. It clarifies: “Officially, all vehicles comply with either the Euro 5 (2011), or Euro 6 emissions (2015), regulations using the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) tests - but when using our true-to-life testing methods we found a very different picture.”
The Jeep Grand Cherokee, for example, emits 15 times the level of NOx permitted by Euro 5 limits, Which? says. The Which? evaluation was inspired by the Volkswagen Group emission scandal whereby the motor manufacturer installed software to cheat tests. Which? set out to: “Find out what cars are really emitting”.
Which? argues: “The results make it clear that the current official testing system is flawed. The New European Driving Cycle contains a number of loopholes that can lead to unrealistic fuel economy and emissions figures which mislead consumers.” The company's Executive Director, Richard Lloyd, clarifies: “The current official tests are clearly not fit-for-purpose and we urgently need a new regime putting in place that reflects the reality of how we drive.”
A Which? statement continues: “New testing methods to assess car performance based on real-life conditions are due to be introduced from 2017; (and) we want to see these be brought in without delay.”
Emission tests not designed to replicate real world driving
The Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders: “Promotes the interests of the UK automotive industry at home and abroad.” It spokesman says: “All cars sold in the UK undergo an official test under EU law to ensure they meet the latest emission standards.” However: “The existing test is a laboratory test and was never designed to reflect the infinite variations of real world driving.”
New emission tests required as soon as possible
The Department for Transport said: “The UK has been at the forefront of calls for action at a European level to introduce far more stringent real driving emissions testing as soon as possible”.