Most of us complain and whinge about the high cost of fuel when we fill up the car at the bowser. Nowadays it costs an arm and a leg, even if you have a supposedly “fuel-efficient” car. “Oh, for the days when fuel was only a dollar a litre,” we think, as we watch the numbers on the bowser soar. But pause for a moment: is it the high cost of fuel or actually the amount the car is using?
According to CHOICE, Australian motorists are being ripped off hundreds of dollars a year because of dodgy – yes, that’s right – “dodgy” fuel-efficiency claims.
Since scandal erupted over the rigging of emissions figures by Volkswagen, CHOICE has found five cars it tested in real-world conditions this year don’t live up to their manufacturer’s claims. In fact they exceeded the claimed fuel usage by more than 30 per cent. That adds up to a lot of extra fuel every time we have to top up.
CHOICE found luxury cars were the worst offenders: a Mercedes-Benz all-wheel drive burned up 43 per cent more fuel than the seven litres per 100 kilometres claimed by the carmaker. It also found a Volvo front-wheel drive consumed 37 per cent more and a Lexus all-wheel drive, 36 per cent more.
However, it wasn’t just those who could afford the price tag of a luxury vehicle who were being hit in the hip pocket. A CHOICE road test of 21 people movers and SUVs found cars guzzled 13 per cent more fuel on average per 100km than the car makers claimed.
The consumer advocacy group concluded that the fuel-efficiency rating for a motor vehicle was being used as a marketing ploy rather than a statement of fact, not helped by the manufacture’s test being based on laboratory conditions that are not an accurate reflection of real-world usage.
Not surprisingly, the consumer rights advocate is calling on carmakers to stop fudging the facts on fuel efficiency and emissions testing and putting the onus on the Australian Government to demand reliable information.
Go to their website to join the campaign.
Does this surprise you? Have you ever measured your own car’s fuel usage against what it says in your owner manual? How did it go? If you haven’t, will you now check it in view of Choice’s shock survey findings.