Advocating change

The real thing

A program of real-world testing will provide on-road efficiency results for Tasmanians.

The Australian Automobile Association (AAA) along with Australia’s auto clubs began testing under the Real-World Testing Program at the end of July. The program will provide information on the fuel consumption and emissions of Australia’s top-selling vehicles in real driving conditions, enabling consumers to make better-informed decisions on their next car purchase.

Current consumer information on these topics is based on laboratory tests, but the AAA notes that results of these tests can vary significantly from on-road driving results. “That means cars can use more fuel and produce higher emissions than their buyers expected,” says AAA Managing Director Michael Bradley.

In 2017 pilot testing, AAA testing of 30 vehicles produced eye-opening results. “When tested in real driving conditions, average fuel consumption was 23 per cent higher than lab results indicated, and vehicles produced up to seven times the legal lab limit of some noxious emissions,” says Michael.

The Commonwealth Government has committed $14 million to fund the AAA to test 200 cars, utes and vans over the next four years.

Vehicles will be driven along a 93km route in and around Geelong that includes urban and rural roads, as well as a stretch of motorway.

Our Group Chief Executive Officer Mark Mugnaioni says the program aims to give consumers information they can use to reduce their costs and driving emissions. “We're fully committed to supporting the Real-World Testing program. It will empower Tasmanians with relevant data, supporting their decision-making when purchasing a new car. As a member of AAA, we continue our mission to deliver informed and transparent information to our members.”

Although the program will initially only impact the new-car market, the AAA expects it will influence purchasing decisions in the commercial and government fleet sector where buyers are keen to improve fuel economy and reduce emissions. “Fleet managers have shown a lot of interest in real-world testing,” says Michael. “The testing program is likely to influence fleet-purchasing decisions. Within a few years that will make a difference in the second-hand market.”

Our Chief Advocacy Officer Garry Bailey says the program will enhance transparency and trust in the auto industry. “This initiative will help Tasmanians make educated choices, ensuring they get value for money and the environmental performance they expect. We're proud to be involved.”