Amid growing concerns about the accuracy and usefulness of laboratory vehicle emissions testing, the Australian Automobile Assn. is spending A$500,000 ($457,955) for on-road emissions testing of about 30 of the country’s top-selling models.
The association wants to see if manufacturers’ emissions claims stack up with what their vehicles emit out on the streets and says it is acting because the Australian government will not.
The move comes after Volkswagen and other manufacturers became involved in global cheating and misreporting of vehicle performances.
CEO Michael Bradley says the AAA is conducting the testing on behalf of all Australians who care about consumer rights and the environment.
“It’s fallen to the AAA to do this…because the Australian government does no testing to ensure car manufacturers comply with emissions regulations of the Australian Design Rules,” Bradley says in a statement.
“Because our government relies on lab testing done internationally, we do not know the real-world level of emissions produced by most models sold in Australia.”
The association’s emissions initial testing of the first 10 vehicles is to end by month’s end. Results will be available later in the year. The AAA also plans to test a sample of affected VW diesel vehicles before and after the automaker makes repairs to affected cars.
It has hired Melbourne-based engineering consultants ABMARC to compare the on-road test results of top-selling models with the results obtained from previous laboratory tests. The company is using Australia's only portable emissions-measurement system compliant with U.S EPA and European Union standards.
“It’s important vehicles deliver the fuel economy, environmental and performance outcomes promised,” Bradley says. “Where this (testing) hasn’t occurred we’ve seen Australians dealing with uncertainty, inconvenience, potential loss of vehicle values and cars which may cost more to run.”