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Australian testing exposes Volkswagen fuel efficiency, emissions

Recalled VW cars are emitting more fuel and releasing more pollution than the Australian standard. Photo: Getty
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Diesel-engine cars made by Germany’s Volkswagen have been found to emit dangerous levels of noxious gas and exceed fuel-efficiency levels even after a recall fix, according to a damning new report.

VW diesel vehicles used 14 per cent more fuel after recall and still emitted four times the permissible amount of noxious gas, according to “real-world” tests conducted by the Australian Automobile Association (AAA) in partnership with the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile.

This comes after 90,000 VW vehicles were recalled in Australia in 2015 due to being fitted with a ‘defeat device’ that could cheat pollution tests.

VW agreed to repair the vehicles but refused to compensate Australian drivers.

The AAA tested a diesel VW before and after it was restored using Volkswagen’s ‘dieselgate’ software fix.

“It’s obvious that that repair isn’t suitable or does not meet what consumers would think is an appropriate fix,” Katinka Day, spokesperson for consumer group Choice, told The New Daily.

After repair, the amount of nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide and particulate matter being emitted was reduced.

But the AAA-commissioned test revealed the VW Golf still emitted 4.11 times more “noxious” gas and consumed on average 7 per cent more fuel after the recall ‘fix’ – 2 per cent more fuel in urban areas, 7 per cent more fuel on rural roads and 14 per cent more fuel while driving on highways.

This meant that after the recall was completed, the car used 26 per cent more fuel than its advertised fuel consumption with which the car was marketed, the AAA found.

“The results show that VW may have found a fix for reducing the level of noxious emissions but as a result, the amount of fuel used has increased,” the AAA said in a statement.

“The testing also indicated that both power and torque had increased slightly after the recall fix. The testing further supports the AAA’s call for a real-world emission testing program in Australia.”

Choice’s Ms Day said the results were “very concerning”.

“Not only does it show that VW is conning consumers but it means that the standards or the processes that we have for testing fuel efficiency aren’t working.”

Laboratory testing of fuel efficiency has not delivered “true and meaningful information for consumers”, Ms Day said.

“For any fuel efficiency standard to work, we need real-world testing of fuel-efficiency claims in Australia.

“It would ensure that consumers got true and accurate claims about fuel efficiency in regards to their cars.”

Volkswagen spokesman Paul Pottinger rejected AAA’s conclusions.

“The German government approved Volkswagen’s software update on the basis that it did not adversely affect the emissions or fuel economy of vehicles in test conditions,” he said.

“The leading motorists’ organisations in Germany, Austria and Switzerland have tested vehicles and concluded that vehicles continue to perform as expected after the software update.”

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