AAA to lead research project on real-world emissions testing of Australian cars

The Australian Automobile Association (AAA) will lead an 18-month research project in 2016 to analyse real-world emissions of Australian cars, following Volkswagen’s admission to using software to evade emissions requirements for 580,000 U.S. vehicles.

The AAA expressed great concern over the fact that the Australian government has no capacity to test, audit, or enforce elements of its current vehicle emissions regulatory regime. Thus, it commissioned an independent engineering firm to commence on-road testing of Australian cars starting early this year.

The AAA’s testing will be consistent with real-world driving emissions methods and protocols, developed by the European Commission, and will assess the emissions produced by popular vehicles on the Australian market, when driven on Australian roads, in Australian conditions.

The AAA research project follows revelations that more than 10 million Volkswagen vehicles worldwide were fitted with this “defeat device” software designed to understate emissions when the vehicles are tested in the lab.

“There is a debate emerging around the adequacy of Australia’s current vehicle emission standards, but this debate risks being rendered meaningless unless a more relevant testing regime is put in place,” said Michael Bradley, head of AAA.

“Action must be taken to test the emissions claims made by vehicle manufacturers, and as the leading consumer advocate for almost eight million Australian motorists, the AAA is willing to step up to the plate. “

Last October, the government announced that a Ministerial Forum chaired by the Minister for Major Projects Paul Fletcher will examine vehicle emissions standards in Australia and vehicle testing arrangements. Fletcher said that the Ministerial Forum will be supported by a working group which will be asked to examine issues including implementation of Euro 6, fuel quality standards, fuel efficiency measures (CO2) for light vehicles, as well as emission testing arrangements.

“This Ministerial Forum will allow the Minister for the Environment Greg Hunt, the Minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia Josh Frydenberg and myself to consult broadly with industry with the aim of reducing harmful emissions on Australian roads and in our cities from motor vehicles,” Fletcher said.