As the European Environmental Agency reveals that typical new car CO2 releases and fuel economy in Europe (there was an average fall of 3.9 per cent in the last year), environmental transport group, Transport and Environment says the statistics may be misleading. This is because of a fault in the inspection system used in the region.

Recent investigations by the organisation, published in its Mind the Gap report, uncovered that the fuel competence numbers attained by drivers on the road are around 25 per cent above official figures claimed by carmakers. That infers as an average mpg of 45. That is compared to the certified average of 56mpg reached in inspections. The means motorists pay around €350 in additional fuel a year.

According to T&E, carmakers ‘creatively’ misuse loopholes and flexibilities. The NEDC inspections are outdated. Car manufacturers tape over door seals and over-inflate tyres, alter wheel association and brakes and decrease weight to yield the highest test result. Accompanied by test conditions, which are out-of-touch with everyday driving circumstances. The result is fuel frugality statistics which are madly unfeasible of the typical driver.

Greg Archer, clean automobiles manager at T&E, believed this should be the number one priority in cutting emissions in Europe. “Fuel competence standards for automobiles are Europe’s single most effective strategy to cut down CO2 releases. However, they are being diluted by an outdated test. The examination procedures are a Swiss cheese. They are awash with loopholes that carmakers abuse to overstate improvements in fuel economy.”

Developed more than 40 years ago, the NEDC examination cycle now bears little relation to actual driving circumstances. It takes no account of modifications in automobile technologies. Consequently, T&E states that about half of the ‘developments’ in fuel economy between 2007 and 2011 have not been provided on the road.

Although there are ideas to announce new fuel economy examination in 2017 – the World Light Duty Test Procedure, there is severe opposition from carmakers. They want to delay its introduction ’til after 2021.