DRIVERS WHO complain that their car does fewer miles per gallon than the brochure claims are to be vindicated at last. New European standards will force car makers to declare “real world” fuel economy figures. Experts say the rule changes will force manufacturers to lower their mpg claims by between 10% and 20% for most models.
The change will also have implications for vehicle tax, because fuel economy figures are used to calculate CO2 emissions. It could mean that many vehicles benefiting from free or low car tax at the moment are moved into higher bands, although the test will apply only to new versions of vehicles and is not due to come into force until 2017.
The rules were agreed at a committee meeting of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, which sets international vehicle standards.
Cars will have to undergo an official fuel economy test lasting half an hour — 10 minutes longer than the existing test — and including higher speeds and harder acceleration than at present. The test will replicate four scenarios, from city driving to the motorway. In the latter the car travels at more than 70mph for almost two minutes, hitting a top speed of 81mph.