icon Roadside Assistance

Time to get real about emissions

There’s a problem with how vehicle emissions are tested.

Numbers produced in the lab rarely match results on the road.

Most Australians expect some variation but AAA research shows the average is  23% more emissions  than the claim on the window sticker.

Most consumers want to make the smart choice for their hip pocket and for the environment. But manufacturers will continue to get away unchecked until we have a reliable cop on the beat.

The AAA is calling for a new real world emissions testing program, not to replace lab testing, but to reinforce it. Because we deserve accurate and reliable information that shows how cars will actually perform on the road, in the real world.

What can you do?

Help us call for a reliable emissions test that works in the real world

The Federal Government needs a serious plan to drive down vehicle emissions. Since 2015 regulators have been aware that laboratory tests produce misleading results.

It doesn’t benefit the environment at all if technology designed to reduce emissions only works in a lab. If the Government doesn’t act, manufacturers will continue to get away unchecked.

Real-world emissions testing is used overseas and produces reliable, repeatable results. You can send an email to your local federal member and the relevant ministers with one click.

 Tell them to get real about emissions, right now. 

Take Action


Dear Name,

Motorists like me, trying to do the right thing are being ripped off.

Reducing vehicle emissions is a priority for Australians, with many prepared to put up top dollar for more fuel-efficient technologies. But right now, there is no certainty that what we pay for is achieving results on the road.

The Federal Government has for more than five years, since the Volkswagen scandal, that emission testing results achieved in a lab are misleading. To date, there are still no safeguards in place to protect consumers and ensure car makers develop cars that perform the way they promise.

The latest Budget missed the opportunity to fund independent tests that measure emissions under real driving conditions, on Australian roads.

We need a serious plan to drive down vehicle emissions and the government can’t keep turning a blind eye to the inaccuracy of laboratory tests. Australians in the market for a vehicle are not being provided with basic consumer protections.

Putting an emissions cop on the beat, not to replace lab tests but reinforce them, will be good for the environment and good for household budgets. I’m joining my voice with the Australian Automobile Association in calling for a Real-world emissions testing program.

Your Name


Please enter your suburb and postcode above

Why do we need a real-world emissions test in Australia?

Australians wanting to do the right thing by the environment when purchasing a new vehicle are not being provided with basic consumer protections.

  • It has been five years since the VW scandal and we still do not have a cop on the beat.
  • In addition, as emission requirements get stricter manufacturers are getting wiser.
  • We need a real-world test that takes into account Australia’s unique combination of fuel type, climate conditions and roads.
  • We need a test to ensure expensive car technologies designed to reduce emissions do their job on the road and not just in the lab.

Tell us what you think.


lookingfor Q Is real world testing repeatable?

Yes. The results of the AAA’s testing shows repeatability to within an average of 3%. During the test the car must meet criteria for average speed in each of the urban, rural and highway sections, minimum distances and controlled percentages of each of these, and there are restrictions on the duration of stops, otherwise the test is not valid and must be done again.

lookingfor Q Can’t we just assume all cars use a bit more fuel on the road?

No. For some vehicles the fuel consumption is similar to the lab result, but there are other vehicles with variations as high as 59%. At the moment consumers are taking a gamble, and it’s unfair to both them, and also to car brands which are doing the right thing.

lookingfor Q Can we rely on overseas tests?

No. Vehicles sold in Australia are not necessarily the same as those sold in other markets. Our driving conditions are different too, with 50km/h urban speed limits rather than 30km/h, lower highway speeds, and a hotter climate. We need a test that shows how cars will perform on Australian roads, in Australian conditions and using Australian fuels, all of which are quite unique.

lookingfor Q Won’t the results depend on driving style?

No. These real-world tests are modelled on the new European Union on-road testing standards, designed so that the characteristics of the individual driver are largely irrelevant.

lookingfor Q More questions?

Visit our program page for information about the AAA research and real-world testing.