Petrolgate: Is The Next Great Automotive Scandal About To Emerge?
Dieselgate is arguably one of the automotive industry’s greatest scandals of all time. It’s cost automakers billions and effectively demonised diesel models; causing sales to crash. Now, however, the industry could face a fresh ‘petrolgate’ crisis.
Has A Petrolgate Been Discovered?
A ‘major discrepancy’ between officially reported petrol CO2 emissions and real-world testing has potentially been found. It’s caused an independent emissions testing agency to issue warnings of a looming petrolgate scenario. Firm Emissions Analytics has recorded ‘unusual’ readings that, it believes, could be indicative of manufacturers already manipulating fresh WLTP guidelines. It says that official CO2 figures for petrol cars are significantly underestimating real-world emissions.
What’s The Accusation?
Emissions Analytics claims that ‘optimisation of the lab-based WLTP test has already set in, with carmakers adapting petrol vehicles to perform better in the WLTP test than they do on the road’. In other words, automakers are allegedly finding loopholes through which to cheat the new guidelines. Under the new testing criteria, CO2 values for diesels rose to 175g/km; close to the real world average of 173g/km. But for petrols, the picture is seemingly different. Values were reported at 151g/km, whereas Emissions Analytics recorded 185g/km.
Nick Molden, CEO at Emissions Analytics, claims that whilst automakers have corrected their diesel mistakes “the same cannot be said for petrol”. He added that the complicated switch to WLTP was “making it hard for any consumer to know what to believe”.
But SMMT Isn’t Buying It
Not everyone’s impressed by Emissions Analytics findings. Mike Hawes, SMMT’s Chief Executive, pulled no punches in describing the firm’s claims. He said, “we strongly reject these misleading claims, which at best betray a fundamental lack of understanding of the testing and regulatory process and at worst look like an attempt to unfairly discredit the industry for commercial gain.” He continued, “car manufacturers are fully aware of their responsibilities and consumers can be assured that new cars on sale today are fully compliant with emissions regulations.”
It’s certainly true that, should a company ‘uncover’ a ‘petrolgate’, it’d win its place in automotive history. Whilst it might sound cynical, it’s not surprising that after Dieselgate emissions companies would be scrutinising anything and everything that they could in order to find the next big scoop. Despite this, Emissions Analytics findings should at least warrant a closer a look at the gaps potentially left between the transition from NEDC to WLTP. After all, if automakers truly have turned over a new leaf, they’ve surely got nothing to hide?
EU Claims BMW, VW and Daimler ‘Colluded’ To Stifle Emission Technology: https://www.autoservefleet.co.uk/latest-news/emission-technology/
Dieselgate: There Are Still 33 MILLION Tampered Vehicles On Europe’s Roads – http://autoserve.co.uk/motoring-news/dieselgate-33-million-tampered-vehicles/