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EU Car Makers Manipulating Fuel Efficiency Figures

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the both-sides-of-the-pond dept.

Transportation 431

pev writes with a report in The Guardian that "European car manufacturers are rigging fuel efficiency tests by stripping down car interiors, over inflating tyres, taping over panel gaps and generally cheating. This overestimates the figures by 25% to 50%. One would have thought that a simple clause stating that cars have to be tested in the conditions that they are sold in would have been obvious?"

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Human Nature (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43171875)

Got to love it. There has to be a way to turn this kind of work-creativity to something more useful then circumventing regulations...

Re:Human Nature (1, Insightful)

phrostie (121428) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172303)

creativity like elon musk?

remember the standard the media held him and his car to?
guilty until proven inocient.

Re:Human Nature (0)

djsmiley (752149) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172335)

Well filling in panel holes is something they COULD do normally anyway. Except people view fashion more highly than efficiently.

Re:Human Nature (4, Informative)

JWSmythe (446288) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172421)

    I've heard there are a lot of consumers who like to be open the doors too.

Re:Human Nature (4, Insightful)

bkaul01 (619795) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172589)

Fashion ... and things like the engine not overheating, the hood and doors being able to open, and other such trivialities...

Re:Human Nature (5, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172375)

I'm continually amazed at how much more effort and creativity people seem to put into shortcuts to money and various get rich quick schemes, rather than boring, honest work.

Suit A:"We're losing money and marketshare! What are we going to do"
Suit B: "The same thing we do every time"
Both in unison: "Layoffs and hire some more lobbyists!"

Shocking (1)

Vlad_the_Inhaler (32958) | about a year and a half ago | (#43171913)

I'm shocked - I had always taken it as read that the figures were very optimistic and now this is considered news.

Re:Shocking (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43172003)

The news is that we now KNOW why they are so ridiculously optimistic.

Re:Shocking (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172427)

I always thought they did it on a rolling road where none of that would make any difference.

Slow news day? (3, Insightful)

Quakeulf (2650167) | about a year and a half ago | (#43171921)

Haven't we all been taught to take all of these "tests" with a grain of salt?

Re:Slow news day? (5, Interesting)

rickb928 (945187) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172305)

Most of the cars I've driven could meet or exceed the MPG specs.

My '98 Saab 900 SET Convertible did 25-28MPG on my mostly highway commute right up to 208K miles. That's winning.

My '95 Explorer was hitting 17-19MPG on the same commute, at 318k miles. Winning.

My 2004 Mitsubishi Lancer OZ Rally is hitting 27-31MPG, same commute, 212K miles. Winning.

My wife is driving the 2000 Explorer V8 at 143K miles, and is getting 16-18MPG. Not so winning, but not bad.

Her commute and mine are similar; relatively quick in the morning, stop and go in the afternoon.

Other cars I have driven that met their MPG estimates include various versions of the Taurus, Focus, Malibu Maxx, and a collection of forgettable crap. The older ones, pre-1990, were disappointing.

MPG results are highly influenced by the driver, the traffic, and vehicle condition, but the driver I think counts a lot.

Re:Slow news day? (2)

meerling (1487879) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172533)

I'm probably going to regret this question, but why do you drive so many different cars?

Re:Slow news day? (1)

characterZer0 (138196) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172595)

Modern cars have to meet much more stringent emissions requirements than older cars did. It was a lot easier to get good gas mileage when the car could exhaust more crap. Cars are also getting heavier bigger, heavier, and more powerful.

IMO (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43171931)

I would add they should be tested as not only they are sold to the consumer but with the an average combined weight of all passenger seats filled plus common luggage in the trunk with a filled gas tank.

Re:IMO (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43172083)

Just stick 2 baby elephants in the back seat to simulate an American riding in the car.

Re:IMO (1)

ak3ldama (554026) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172637)

You could just as easily put two europeans [ukmedix.com] in the back seat instead. Sometimes stereotypes are real, sometimes they are rude exagerations, and sometimes they change.

Relativity (4, Insightful)

OpenSourced (323149) | about a year and a half ago | (#43171941)

Fuel efficiency tests are for comparison purposes. If all makers cheat equally, comparisons are still meaningful. When legislators set an standard, they'll probably take that into account and make the standard a bit tighter.

Re:Relativity (4, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172059)

The problem is that automakers start designing cars to the unrealistic test, and not to get real-world gains. Even if this only accounts for 1 MPG, that is a huge amount of fuel for the entire fleet.

Re:Relativity (1)

Racerdude (1006357) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172069)

This is like doping in cycling: Just as long as everybody dopes equally it's still a level playing field... Or perhaps he who as the most cash and the best doctors wins?

Re:Relativity (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43172205)

It hurts for the consumer trying to determine the cost of operating a vehicle and whether something like a hybrid is justified despite the higher cost. If this consumer buys the hybrid based on this calculation, but would have bought another vehicle if accurate numbers were posted, then this type of cheating is fraud.

Re:Relativity (1, Flamebait)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172309)

Everybody knows hybrids aren't 'worth it' from a present value _or_ environmentalist POV.

Hybrids make hippie chicks puddle. What kind of dollar value can you assign to that feature?

Hybrids are just another fashion accessory, nothing new under the sun.

Duh ! (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43171945)

If all we have to do is over inflate your tires, tape over the panel gaps, and keep your car empty ( find somewhere else to park your junk ), to get 25% - 50 % better gas milage, why don't we all do it ?

Re:Duh ! (2)

Endo13 (1000782) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172057)

You forgot that you have to disconnect the alternator as well. You'll also need a plug-in charger to keep recharging your battery.

Re:Duh ! (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172133)

add an electric water pump.

Re:Duh ! (1)

ickleberry (864871) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172299)

Then claim your plug-in hybrid tax discount!

Re:Duh ! (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172655)

Not to mention using some ultra light oil like a 0w20 (maybe cut it with some mineral sprits) where you have only enough in the sump so the engine can develop oil pressure.

Re:Duh ! (4, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172447)

The single biggest difference to fuel consumption is between the seat and the steering wheel.

Re:Duh ! (5, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172691)

The single biggest difference to fuel consumption is between the seat and the steering wheel.

I can confirm that this is true. When you remove that element for good, your monthly fuel consumption will drop to zero.

Re:Duh ! (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172685)

Also I bet they were removing the various interior panels, carpeting, passenger seats, sound deadening material etc. Hell it wouldn't surprise me if they also pulled out all sorts of safety equipment to get the weight down as well since they were running on a test track.

Not surprised (5, Interesting)

s4ltyd0g (452701) | about a year and a half ago | (#43171963)

This is no different from dot matrix printer specifications from long ago. Sure your printer would do 250cps as long as all the characters were the number 1.

Re:Not surprised (4, Funny)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172505)

You could easily make the test more realistic by adding 'l','I', and '|' to the test.

Re:Not surprised (5, Funny)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172593)

This needs to be modded up simply because it's a computer analogy for a car issue.

European Magic (5, Interesting)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year and a half ago | (#43171983)

This topic comes up every time we discuss fuel efficiency on here. Someone inevitably complains that the high-efficiency European cars are not available in the US, and then someone else points out that the Euro cars would not do very well on the EPA test. Hijinks ensue.

Re:European Magic (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43172115)

It's made even more hilarious by the nonlinearity of the "miles per gallon" metric vs. the "liters per 100km" metric and by the fact that a British gallon and an American gallon are two different sizes.

Re:European Magic (2)

Phrogman (80473) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172607)

Up here in Canada we use the Litres per 100 Km metric too. My assumption was that it was intended to obscure just how much gas you are going through, and thus obscure the price you are paying for it as well. Its much harder to compare miles per gallon to litres per 100km that it would be if it was a straight translation of kilometers per litre.
Since the price of gas seems to fluctuate by as much as 25% on a seemingly random basis, I think its in the interests of the Oil companies to keep us as confused as possible. I think the latest jump in gas prices here was probably due to the fact that they were still selecting the next pope. Gas prices seem to reflect international crises (up whenever anything that could be construed as "tense" is happening), and of course season/time (up before a long weekend, down on the weekend, up again Sunday night when everyone refuels for the next work day).
Oil companies are a remora sucking the life out of modern civilization.

Re:European Magic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43172647)

... British gallon and an American gallon are two different sizes.

Both are dwarfed by the Spanish galleon, though.

Re:European Magic (4, Interesting)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172195)

The EPA tests aren't exactly a paragon of realism, either. There is at least as much fudging there. And to complicate things, the MPG figure you see on the window sticker is not the same figure used to calculate aggregate fuel efficiency for CAFE requirements.

Incidentally, one US-specific cause of MPG shortfalls is the use of ethanol. The cars are tested with pure gas, but regulations require a certain amount of ethanol to be blended into the real-world gasoline supply (up to 10% and the lobby wants to raise it higher), and this drastically hurts efficiency.

Re:European Magic (2)

smooth wombat (796938) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172323)

but regulations require a certain amount of ethanol to be blended into the real-world gasoline supply ... and this drastically hurts efficiency.

Except it doesn't have to. My car manufacturer, Hyundai, says I should get 29 mpg city/40 mpg highway. I get between 30 -33 city and on my last long drive I got 40.77 mpg.

Part of it is how you drive. If you're always on the gas, trying to get one car ahead, then slam on the brakes to squeeze into the barely there gap between cars, of course your mileage will be lower. Letting your car coast the last few tenths of mile, when you can do so, turning your car off at long lights, not mashing the pedal to the floor unless you have to, will all boost your mileage.

The only other thing I do is inflate my tires by 1 pound from what the recommendation says. It's enough to add to my fuel efficiency without highspotting the tires.

Re:European Magic (3, Informative)

Beyond_GoodandEvil (769135) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172625)

but regulations require a certain amount of ethanol to be blended into the real-world gasoline supply ... and this drastically hurts efficiency. Except it doesn't have to.
Yes, yes it does. Gasoline ~34.2 MJ/L; E10~33.18(~3% less); E85~26.5. Ethanol has less energy per liter, so if you have to add it to your fuel, you will get fewer MPGs.

Re:European Magic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43172457)

Also, european fuels are much higher grade (octane) and thus can produce energy more efficiently because they can be compressed higher (more bang for your buck) before pinging/detonation.

Re:European Magic (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43172675)

The european rating is the maximum of r or n octane, while the us rating is usually the average of those 2. They are fairly comparable if you measure using the same procedure.

Re:European Magic (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172539)

MPG is deemed important w.r.t. oil use. Hence ethanol blends, intended to cut down on that, are irrelevant w.r.t. mileage.

You would then need a 2D graph of oil use per mile for various ethanol concentrations. Unless this differs proportionally from burning pure gas, it buys you no important knowledge.

Re:European Magic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43172565)

A change has recently been announced to the method of EPA fuel-efficiency validation. After the pre-release fuel-efficiency evaluation, a review will be made once the cars ship to the dealers. Vehicles will be randomly selected from dealer lots, tested, and the MPG average of the model will be updated within 30 days based upon the new findings.

Significant discrepancies between the models submitted to the EPA for pre-review and the model as tested from the lot will be grounds for suspension from the privilege of the pre-review process. In that case, no MPG figures would be marketable to consumers until the models ship to the lots and a post-release evaluation is completed. This would be a first-offence penalty: no fucking around.

Direct consequence of big government (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43172583)

regulations require a certain amount of ethanol to be blended into the real-world gasoline supply (up to 10% and the lobby wants to raise it higher), and this drastically hurts efficiency

For all of you who endlessly call for bigger and bigger government: this is it. This is exactly what you asked for. You asked that coercive authority be richer and more powerful, and your wish was granted. Your mistake, however, was in assuming this revenue and power would be used to benefit you, rather than the elite few at the top of the pyramid.

So can we finally learn the lesson nobody wants to learn? The lesson is that power WILL be abused, and the ONLY way to stop it is with strict upper limits on both power and revenue.

Re:European Magic (1)

Albanach (527650) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172365)

It is the case that, until very recently, there were many very efficient cars available in Europe that are/were not available in the US. Especially diesel models.

For example I rented a very nice Audi A3 Tdi in the UK, and drove over 1,100 miles on 30 US gallons of gas. At the time it wasn't available in the US, but you can buy it here now. Still, there aren't many nice US cars that get 36+ mpg in real world use.

So can we have the list of things to do? (2)

Lorens (597774) | about a year and a half ago | (#43171999)

Over inflating tires maybe not, but taping over panel gaps for -10% in fuel would interest a lot of people.

Re:So can we have the list of things to do? (1)

JDevers (83155) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172111)

How convenient would it be to have someone tape you into the car every time you went somewhere? Not to mention all the wasted tape...

Re:So can we have the list of things to do? (3, Interesting)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172517)

Yeah, but what about...

* Panel gaps that aren't on doors (or on doors that you don't use)

You don't crack the bonnet every day. There will be panel gaps on the bumpers, etc. If you don't habitually have passengers in the rear seats, tape the door seals up. Three door models probably do much better than 5 doors models - but don't sell well in the American market because you have to be agile enough to climb into the back seat...

Re:So can we have the list of things to do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43172149)

Yeah my wife* would love that one. "I can't come on that drive to you're parents house because I need to tape up the door gap after you get in the car, so that you'll safe fuel." Also, Over inflating tires increases braking distance.

*I mean my mom....

Re:So can we have the list of things to do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43172555)

I've read a lot of EULAs and small print over my lifetime, but I think your asterisk is the most confusing and disgusting one I have ever come across.

Re:So can we have the list of things to do? (1)

tompaulco (629533) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172507)

Over inflating tires maybe not, but taping over panel gaps for -10% in fuel would interest a lot of people.

Then why don't they just seal the panel gaps when they build the car?

Re:So can we have the list of things to do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43172677)

Because they don't have to.

Re:So can we have the list of things to do? (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172591)

And here I thought all these sci-fi vehicles where the door closes and the seam completely melts away were just being showy for the sake of being showy.

Re:So can we have the list of things to do? (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172641)

So something like weatherstripping so when the door closes it overlaps the panel behind it slightly. while that won't do much as there is a giant gap in the front of the vehicle that needs to be sealed up it may help some. The grill to let air flow through the radiator is a bitch to work around and the best solution seem to be to make them as small as possible. Air flowing through the vehicle makes for some real poor aerodynamics.

My car... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43172013)

I have a Mini Cooper, estimated to get 37 mpg highway. It's averaged 38 over 1500 miles! Damn liars! WOOHOO!!!!

Get a Mini! Eff the rest!!! XD

Re:My car... (1)

craigminah (1885846) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172085)

The Mini's a sweet little car. My wife's 1994 Honda Civic got 40 to 45 mpg depending on how close we were to the ocean which I thought odd.

Re:My car... (2)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172167)

You both drive like pussies.

You can get your mileage well under 20. Just maintain over 5k RPM at all times.

Note: The early 90s CIVICs weigh less then the mini.

Re:My car... (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172245)

My wife has a Mini D. 4.9l/100km (49,0 mpg according to Google) when I drive it 5.5l (42.7 mpg according to Google) when she drives it. Don't know what it is listed to be able to do. My Audi TT (13 years old, and 256000km on the counter), manages to do 8.5l/100km (27,7mpg) on a regular base. Only highway, I sometimes manage to let the average drop below 8 l/100km.

All in all, I'm pretty content...

US Government Standards (4, Interesting)

puddingebola (2036796) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172015)

The EPA standards that were implemented in 2008 supposedly imposed tougher standards on manufacturers, taking into account colder temperatures, faster driving, and AC use. I found in my own car I get much better mileage than what the window sticker advertised. A little surprised the US seems better regulated on this one small issue.

Re:US Government Standards (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43172481)

You are not alone in finding you get a better MPG average than the sticker. When the EPA changed this all around (thank you very much Prius owners), a 2008 vehicle got a lower rating than a 2007 model even though they would be the same car. Volkswagen released a study showing how the diesels (TDI) engines were underrated by the new EPA testing.

Another way to cheat (2)

tompaulco (629533) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172031)

Another way to cheat is they use diesel, which is more energy dense.
For the sarcasm-impaired, I am very much in favor of diesel and have been complaining for at least a decade that we don't get a good selection of diesels in the U.S. All I want is a diesel sports sedan with manual transmission. My only choice right now is the Jetta. No thanks.

Re:Another way to cheat (-1, Flamebait)

craigminah (1885846) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172107)

Diesel is not more energy dense than gasoline.

Re:Another way to cheat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43172219)

Volumetric energy density is higher with Diesel. So yes, it is more energy dense.

Re:Another way to cheat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43172227)

per volume it is more dense because it's weights more per volume unit. But yes per weight unit it's probably close to equal but not quite due to the longer chains having different Carbon to Hydrogen ratios. Also diesel engines are more efficient due to achieving full compression* on every stroke only adding more or less fuel assuming there not turbo charged.
*no throttle body to create a intake vacuum.

Re:Another way to cheat (1)

Dzimas (547818) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172397)

Diesel is sold by volume, not weight. A 50L tank of gasoline will weigh about 6.4 kg less than gasoline, which is negligible.

Re:Another way to cheat (2)

femtobyte (710429) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172241)

From the Wikipedia page on diesel [wikipedia.org] :

However, due to the higher density, diesel offers a higher volumetric energy density at 35.86 MJ/L (128 700 BTU/US gal) vs. 32.18 MJ/L (115 500 BTU/US gal) for gasoline, some 11% higher, which should be considered when comparing the fuel efficiency by volume.

Do you have a better source refuting the energy density (per volume) difference?

Re:Another way to cheat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43172293)

Not chemically, but practically it is more energy dense because it permits the usage of higher compression more efficient engines.

Re:Another way to cheat (1)

jcochran (309950) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172331)

Might want to do a bit of research before saying things like this.

http://www.afdc.energy.gov/fuels/fuel_comparison_chart.pdf [energy.gov]

Diesel is more energy dense than gasoline. However, diesel has a higher percentage of carbon than gasoline.

Re:Another way to cheat (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172161)

It's also more expensive, which goes some way to offset the (monetary) savings of using more energy dense fuel.

Here [virtualcar...tore.co.uk] is a basic calculator to see if you'd save money. It's in Sterling, but ignore the currency symbol and the math is the same.

Re:Another way to cheat (3, Informative)

Cenan (1892902) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172233)

Diesel causes cancer [cancer.org] . Diesel particles could raise heart attack risks [bbc.co.uk] . And I'm sure there are tons of other stuff Diesel is good for, by all means let's have some more.

Re:Another way to cheat (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172405)

So then it appears that is not actually ALL you want: you want something else that precludes the Jetta.

Re:Another way to cheat (1)

tompaulco (629533) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172599)

So then it appears that is not actually ALL you want: you want something else that precludes the Jetta.

Well, yes. I guess I am looking more towards cars like the Audi A6 or some of the BMWs they sell in Europe. I am aware that the Audi TDI engines are the same engine as the VW. It's not so much the engine that is my issue with the Jetta. I just don't like the styling, and I have known several people that had them and were plagued with issues, mostly not engine related. Also, we only have one local choice for VW dealer, and they make other car dealers look like Sunday School teachers.

Metric / imperial (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43172037)

Understimates? EU figures are presented in liters fuel per 100 km. I'm sure that the manufacturers rig to underestimate.

useable tricks (1)

ssam (2723487) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172043)

Maybe some of these 'tricks' can actually be used to improve fuel efficiency.

Can we make tires that are safe at higher pressures? Or improve the aerodynamics?

Re:useable tricks (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43172361)

The reason overinflating tires reduces fuel consumption is that it reduces the contact patch between the car and the road. Unless designed for that smaller contact patch it means worse braking distance and handling.

Re:useable tricks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43172429)

Tires are safe at higher pressures but you get a harsher ride and less traction. The tire is literally rounder and not as flat on the bottom leading to less contact area with the road. The reduction in traction increases braking distance. But taping the hood and maybe truck gaps doesn't sound like bad idea. Also, if you don't mind replace the glass every couple of years and don't live in dust storm areas. You can replace all the glass expect the windshield with lighter plastics. But like I said they scratch a lot easier. Removing power accessories and especially power seats, can save loads of weight. Also, if don't have kids then dump the rear seats. Also you can decrease your toe-in in the suspension, It will make the car a little squirrelly but it's not to bad. I have my car at zero toe to maybe 0.5 degree of toe in. The tires also last longer. There are whole forums dedicated to trying to squeeze MPG if you're interested.

doesn't matter much (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43172049)

no matter what test they devise it will _always_ be a number that is only valid for that test, you may get better or worse milage depending on how much your driving pattern look like the test

as long as they all "cheat" the same it is still a valid test, tested as 50mpg might not mean 50mpg the way you drive, but it is better than tested as 40mpg

Why do they let automakers test? (4, Insightful)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172053)

Why do they let the automakers run the test? Instead the regulatory bodies should ask for 3 production samples and an application fee and then the regulatory body should do the tests themselves.

Re:Why do they let automakers test? (1)

devforhire (2658537) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172181)

Leave things as they are. What you suggests costs money and provides substandard results. The current system works very well and for many things other than mpg.

1. Go to internet and do some research on product (mpg of cars for example).
2. Compare internet findings to what manufacturer says. If there is a big gap, manufacturer may not be someone you want to give money to.

Re:Why do they let automakers test? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43172193)

Automakers run their own fuel efficiency exams in the US it works just fine they are looking to break the law. But when you have a situation apparently like in the EU where there is no law to break why would they not nudge the tests in their favor.

Re:Why do they let automakers test? (1)

Desler (1608317) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172235)

Because they are under-staffed and have their budgets routinely cut.

Re:Why do they let automakers test? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43172251)

application fee

Re:Why do they let automakers test? (2)

fermion (181285) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172419)

Because, as in the case of Tesla, when independent reviewers test they do not follow instructions to the letter and the car does not perform as well. Of course most drivers don't follow the instructions to the letter, don't keep the tires inflated properly, drive inefficiently, have to drive in stop and go traffic, etc.

So the question becomes which is better. A standard set of tests in which values between models can be compared, or non standard tests in which more relevant values for the real world are attained.

I would say both. That said I agree with other posters who say their european cars meet of exceed the values posted in the US. My car easily gets the average efficiency now that I know how to drive it. I rented a Subaru a while back, went through a few tanks, and it exceeded my expectations. Obviously the EU testing is different and may overstate fuel consumption.

Re:Why do they let automakers test? (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172469)

I think you know damn well why they let the automakers run the test rather than spending government money to test the things themselves.

Hmm... it might be interesting to require testing to be done by the competitors. Probably woudn't solve much even if you required they not actually be part of the same Volkswagon or other corporate superfamily, but interesting.

Re:Why do they let automakers test? (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172487)

Even better: Randomly sample the MPG of cars that have been sold to consumers. That way we get the actual "real world" average MPG. Many modern cars already have the mileage information in their on-board computer, so the data could be collected when they are brought in for service.

Re:Why do they let automakers test? (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172695)

If they did that, the auto companies would currently have to shut down production thanks to the sequester because government deliberately chose to furlough useful stuff like factory inspections to irritate the population, rather than cut back slghtly on giant, amorphous blobs of spending.

By the way, a wise man once said the business of America is business.

A cynic once said the business of government is getting in the way of business for the purpose of getting paid to get back out of the way.

Now look at government shutting down private factories because government refuses to send inspectors because of the sequester, and re-evaluate your judgement, son.

Humans gaming a system for their benefit? (1)

Donut (128871) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172067)

DOG BITES MAN!

Seems Legit (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43172099)

Wait....that's not how cars are supposed to be sold? The dealer assured me that was "perfectly normal"

Agencies should test like Consumer Reports (4, Insightful)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172127)

When Consumer Reports wants to test a product (including cars), they don't go to the manufacturer, much less let the manufacturer run the testing process! They buy the product anonymously at normal retail, and then test it in their own labs. Why can't regulatory agencies like the EPA and its European Union equivalent do the same thing?

Because Socialism. (-1, Troll)

FatSean (18753) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172159)

When Consumer Reports wants to test a product (including cars), they don't go to the manufacturer, much less let the manufacturer run the testing process! They buy the product anonymously at normal retail, and then test it in their own labs. Why can't regulatory agencies like the EPA and its European Union equivalent do the same thing?

Which is pretty much why.

Re:Agencies should test like Consumer Reports (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43172465)

lol that someone actually puts any trust in consumer reports

Re:Agencies should test like Consumer Reports (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43172609)

When Consumer Reports wants to test a product (including cars), they don't go to the manufacturer, much less let the manufacturer run the testing process! They buy the product anonymously at normal retail, and then test it in their own labs. Why can't regulatory agencies like the EPA and its European Union equivalent do the same thing?

Are you paying any attention to the news lately? The EPA is discretionary spending. It's going to be cut to the bone to save military and entitlement spending.

Re:Agencies should test like Consumer Reports (1)

necro81 (917438) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172645)

One simple reason: all that EPA and other regulatory testing needs to be done before the car hits the market.

Re:Agencies should test like Consumer Reports (1)

meerling (1487879) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172687)

How about the little fact that companies need it's economy ratings BEFORE they market the vehicle. That pretty much makes purchasing one on the market and then testing it to set it's ratings rather difficult unless you have a TARDIS.

Obvious Depends on Your Point of View (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43172221)

One would have thought that a simple clause stating that cars have to be tested in the conditions that they are sold in would have been obvious?

Only "obvious" to neurotypicals.
To a sociopath the lack of external verification and penalties makes it "obvious" that society intends the test to be cheated by those clever enough to do it.

They got nothing on Car & Driver (4, Interesting)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | about a year and a half ago | (#43172455)

A few years back I remembered reading an article from car and driver about them winning a MGP competition put on for the original Honda Insight. The games they played make the cheating going on here seem like the work of petty amateurs. Of course that was for fun and bragging rights for the magazines that participated so excessive bending of the rules was to be expected. If interested I suggest reading the article "How We Won the Insight Fuel-Economy Challenge. Without Cheating. Much" [caranddriver.com] . I am surprised that the car manufactures in the EU also don't try lowering the oil level so that it barely covers the oil pickup tube when running thus keeping the crank from hitting the oil in the sump or have most vehicles gone over to a dry sump setup. Also if they are going to disconnect the alternator why not also disconnect the water pump and replace it with an electric one like the drag racers do? Granted it won't work for an extended period of time (the electric racing ones are fairly low volume) but I would imagine the vehicle would survive the test track with it.

Not specific to Europe, or today (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43172483)

Ever since government mandated fuel efficiency testing programs were instituted in the 1970s, pretty much all major car manufacturers have rigged fuel efficiency tests...

ftfy

The real news should be... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43172509)

The real news should be about why this is allowed. Here in the US we've known for many years that these tests are fudged and don't represent real-life figures. I'm very surprised that this as also happening in the EU, as over here we generally view the EU as having stricter consumer-protection laws. I always subtract a full 15% and that seems to be about accurate, hence a "40mpg" car will really get around 34mpg in real life use (assuming you aren't a "hyper-miler" driver). Although sometimes the difference is greater. They did change the way the test were done recently, but I haven't seen much of a difference in the accuracy. The absurdity, in my opinion, is that this type of blatantly false advertising is allowed anywhere. I suppose that's just the world we live in. How Sad.

Why not keep it true? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43172629)

I've always wonder why we didn't have the MPG stated with the amount of weight in the car. Would a 180 lbs driver drive experience the same MPG as the same car with a 300 lbs driver and (2) 250 lbs passengers. I guess it's not politically correct to have the fine print state "mileage may very depending how fat you are"

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