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BMW, Audi ‘Underreport CO2 Emissions’

BMWBMW and Audi are the worst offenders at underreporting CO2 emissions, according to an International Council on Clean Transportation report.

The study compares official and “real-word” fuel consumption and CO2 emissions for passenger cars in Europe and finds that the average discrepancy between them rose from less than 10 percent in 2001 to 25 percent in 2011.

BMW’s reported emissions are about 30 percent below real-world numbers while Audi’s gap is about 28 percent, the study says. Toyota’s fuel economy figures are 15 percent lower than its real-world performance.

The report says automakers haven’t done anything illegal. It says the growing gap between actual and reported emissions is likely due to several factors including:

  • Increasing application of technologies that show a higher benefit in type-approval tests than under real-world driving conditions, such as start-stop technology.
  • Increasing use of flexibilities, or permitted variances in the type-approval procedure, for example, during coast-down testing.
  • External factors — such as increased use of air conditioning — changing over time.

The ICCT says the gap widened after 2007–2008, when several European Union member states switched to a CO2-based vehicle taxation system and the EU introduced a mandatory CO2 regulation for new cars.

The difference between reported and real-world efficiencies halves the expected benefit of the EU’s vehicle CO2 regulations, the report says. Additionally, it can result in a competitive disadvantage for automakers whose actual CO2 emissions more closely align with their reported emissions, and can lead to consumer distrust.

Earlier this month, BMW chairman Norbert Reithofer called the EU’s strict vehicle emissions standards “impossible to meet.” He said the targets can’t be met without huge investments — requiring government support — in expensive alternative drivetrain technology.


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One thought on “BMW, Audi ‘Underreport CO2 Emissions’

  1. Any wonders if these auto-manufacturers are including the emissions pertaining to aircon refrigerants in their vehicle emissions numbers.

    Many manufacturers still make use of R-22 and do not give consumers a choice of refrigerant.

    Their argumentbeing that refrigerant is a consumable item which will only be released into the atmosphere when damaged by way of accident or by wear and tear over time. Therefore in their eyes, they are not accountable.

    Therefore as they are making the not so environmental choice of refrigerant, on behalf of the consumer, emissions relating to R-22 should be included in their calculations.

    Any thoughts on this?

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