Testing vehicle emissions in the laboratory is a way to guarantee identical procedures, but it doesn't exactly mimic the results from an on-the-road drive. Ford, for example, famously had a problem with dynamometer testing in the Total Road Load Horsepower (TRLHP) calculations for the C-Max Hybrid. Over in Europe, the authorities are considering new rules that will not affect the emissions levels that need to be reached (those are already in process) but how the vehicles will be tested. Reuters doesn't name the new rule, but we think it could be connected to the UN-supported World Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP), which emphasizes actual driving results over lab numbers.

A new draft legislation is making the rounds that would force the tests to be done on, you know, actual roads instead of in labs/ You can probably guess the reasons why. Reuters calls the problems one of "loopholes," but whatever name we apply, the problem is that the official figures and reality don't match. An unnamed EU official told Reuters, "In the real world we have seen that NOX emissions are higher than indicated by the test, up to a factor 4 or 5 and exceptionally more." This is not a new issue. Back in 2011, the group Transport And Environment said that the CO2 emissions numbers claimed by automakers are "less and less a reflection of what we are seeing on the road." You probably won't be surprised to hear that, while the auto industry admits the lab tests aren't accurate, it doesn't just want to accept a new test procedure mandate. The VDA, a lobbying organization for the German automakers, is working on its own proposal for real-world tests.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 5 Comments
      PeterScott
      • 7 Months Ago
      No shocker there. The Euro tests are the most easily gamed out there. Which is why we routinely see 70MPG test results. It is also why you don't see manufactures complaining about Start-Stop not getting a fair shake in Euroland, where the system gets too much credit. EPA is a lot closer to the mark. It's main failing seems to be letting manufacturers do their own testing, resulting in systemic "Mistakes" from Hyundai/Ford (most recently) that always seem to benefit the manufacturer.
        thecommentator2013
        • 7 Months Ago
        @PeterScott
        I also noticed that the Euro tests are less strict, american standards are far more close to reality.
          offib
          • 7 Months Ago
          @thecommentator2013
          That would be an understatement. The EPA is far stricter on paticulates and smog forming emissions, tasks that are harder for diesels to meet. It's the one of those things that the US is better at than Europe. That's why you never the amount of little diesel engines in the US that we get in Europe that get 80mpg to 90mpg (Kia Rio 1.1l and VW Polo Bluemotion). They mostly fail emission regualtions and the expensive modifications to meet those regualtions makes it difficult for the maker to justify selling a small, diesel in a market that doesn't incentivises diesel fuel, that has certain old biases against diesels and has higher standards on performance. The US market as we know also has tougher consumption tests and different measurements for a gallon that would make the good mpg improvemnet compared to the petrol versio seen in Europe look rather small over in the States. It also doesn't help that they have poor sound quality (exterior). It's awful being outside (walking, talking, having lunch) with traffic in most European cities. I feel bad for those who have to work near or commute in while exposed to such traffic almost every day. Air's bad enough. Ever been in a busy underground car park (in Brussles)? Burns and itches your eyes, nose and throat like hell!
      futurecars
      • 7 Months Ago
      good , that euro is going to make them do really world test, EPA is planning them same thing too, lab cannot replace a really world test drive, but it does not mean that every consumer will get the same result either, as some people drive with a lead foot, and driving condition varies.
      Naturenut99
      • 7 Months Ago
      Japan should also change their testing. The Prius is labeled roughly double what it is in the US.