VW pollution scandal “the tip of the iceberg”

The recent scandal, in which Volkswagen was found to be cheating on diesel emission tests in the US, is just the tip of the iceberg, says the car review website dogandlemon.com.

Editor Clive Matthew-Wilson says:

Volkswagen’s main crime was getting caught: this sort of cheating isn’t the exception, it’s part of an industry-wide pattern of deception.”

It is widely believed that all or most carmakers have been cheating on these tests, which is why the share value of several European carmakers has suddenly dropped; it is highly likely that a number of other carmakers will be caught up in the inevitable investigation that will follow the VW scandal." 

A recent study by the International Council on Clean Transportation found that a typical modern diesel emits seven to 10 times more nitrogen dioxide on the road than the figure achieved in official tests. This has led the European Union to agree to create new tests, but these new tests are two years away.

Matthew-Wilson adds that there are multiple legal ways for the carmakers to cheat on fuel economy and emissions tests.

It’s important to realise that the fuel consumption figures quoted by the government and car dealers aren’t based on actual driving by actual people – they’re conducted in a laboratory by the car companies themselves. These figures are then passed on to the public as if they were gospel. In fact, the carmakers cheat most tests.”

Our actual road tests show that it’s rare to find a vehicle where the claimed fuel consumption figures match reality.”

A recent study by the respected British consumer group Which?, found that just three out of 200 new cars are as fuel efficient as the manufacturers claim. The study showed most cars fall short of their claimed fuel economy figures by an average of 13%. The two worst offenders were hybrids, which are supposed to offer vastly better economy. In fact, the claimed fuel economy of the Mitsubishi Outlander hybrid was overstated by 120%. The Outlander hybrid had a claimed consumption of 1.9 litres per 100 kilometres, but an actual fuel economy of 4.2 litres per 100 kilometres.

Similarly, the Volvo V60 plug-in hybrid was supposed to use a mere 1.8 litres per 100 kilometres, but actually used 3.5 l/100km, 92% lower than the manufacturer's stated fuel use.

Other serious offenders were the Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.0 diesel automatic, with a fuel economy figure that was 55% worse than claimed, together with the BMW X4 diesel 3.0, the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe and the Toyota Yaris hybrid, all of which fell short by 33%.

The only three cars to reach their official figures during testing were the:

·       Skoda Roomster 1.2-litre, five-door, manual

·       Mazda 3 Fastback 2-litre

·       Skoda Yeti 2-litre, five-door, automatic diesel

Matthew-Wilson adds:

Consumers have a right to accurate information about the amount of fuel used and pollution put out by the vehicles they intend to buy. It’s bad enough that the car companies lie; it’s worse that the government helps them do it. The fuel economy figures quoted on the government’s 'green' car website are based on the fantasy figures provided by car companies. The government is effectively helping the car companies rip off consumers.”

Equally disturbing, many of these cars are being sold as green when, in fact, their exhaust emissions are seriously threatening human health.”

The 10 worst offenders for false fuel economy claims (2015 UK Which? study):



Make and model

Claimed economy

Actual economy



Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, 2014-on

1.9 l/100 km

4.2 l/100 km



Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid, 2012-on

1.8 l/100 km

3.5 l/100 km



Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.0 diesel automatic, 2011-on

7.5 l/100 km

11.6 l/100 km



BMW X4, 2014-on

6 l/100 km

8 l/100 km



BMW 4 Series Grand Coupe 2.0, 2014-on  

6.3 l/100 km

8.4 l/100 km



Toyota Yaris 1.5 Hybrid, 2012-on

3.3 l/100 km

4.4 l/100km



Vauxhall Corsa 1.3 diesel, 2006-2014

3.3 l/100 km

4.3 l/100 km



Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1.4 petrol, 2010-on

5.1 l/100 km

6.6 l/100 km



Nissan Qashqai 1.5 diesel, 2014-on

3.8 l/100 km

4.8 l/100 km



Peugeot 208, 2012-on

4.3 l/100 km

5.4 l/100 km


 Chart source: Which.co.uk