Questions and answers—Real-World Testing of Vehicle Efficiency

What is the program?

The Real-World Testing of Vehicle Efficiency program will provide $14 million over four years to the Australian Automobile Association (AAA) to test the fuel consumption and emissions of vehicles in real-world conditions, so consumers have clear information on how much a particular vehicle will cost to run.

Why is the Australian Automobile Association running this program?

The AAA which is the peak organisation for Australia's motoring clubs, and has experience in commissioning research and undertaking analysis of issues affecting transport systems, including on vehicle emissions. AAA previously ran a pilot real-wold testing program in 2017.

How are emissions measured in the real-world test?

Fuel consumption and emissions will be measured by a portable emissions measurement system fitted to the vehicle’s exhaust. Vehicles will be driven on the road in accordance with a test protocol developed by the AAA and based on international regulations, with some minor adjustment for Australian conditions.

How many vehicles will be tested?

The AAA plans to test approximately 200 model variants over the duration of the program (2023 to 2026). The program will initially target models and variants in the most popular vehicle segments to maximise the proportion of new vehicle sales covered by the program. New and updated models will also be tested as they are released in future years.

How does this program complement existing information (Fuel Consumption Label and Green Vehicle Guide)?

The figures reported on the Fuel Consumption Label and Green Vehicle Guide website are sourced from internationally standardised laboratory tests. As all vehicles are tested in the same conditions, this enables consumers to compare the relative efficiency and emissions of different vehicles on a common basis

However, consumers will generally experience higher fuel consumption on the road than reported in the lab tests. This is because fuel consumption and emissions can also be affected by traffic and weather conditions and how the vehicle is being used and maintained.

By providing information on the fuel consumption and emissions of vehicles in a real-world setting, consumers will have access to clearer information on how much fuel a vehicle is likely to use on the road. This means consumers will have a clearer understanding on how much a vehicle will cost to run before they purchase the vehicle.

Data from the program will also help monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of Australia's standards for vehicle emissions and the costs and benefits of adopting improved standards.

How and when will results be published?

To minimise confusion with the lab test data currently reported on the Green Vehicle Guide, results will be published on a separate website run by the Australian Automobile Association. Finalised results for the vehicles tested so far are available at:

If a vehicle uses more fuel or produces higher emissions in the real-world test, does this mean the vehicle is non-compliant with Australian Design Rules (ADRs)?

No. The current ADRs for emissions require vehicles to meet the emission limits in a controlled laboratory test. This is because on-road emissions can be affected by how and when it was used.

If there is evidence that a particular vehicle's real-world emissions deviate significantly from those reported for similar vehicles, the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts may investigate this further.

Are any changes to the ADR test requirements being considered?

The Government has announced the introduction of new ADRs based on the Euro 6d standard for light vehicles. These new ADRs will require manufacturers to meet stricter emission limits in an improved laboratory test and a new on-road emissions test for noxious emissions. For further information please see our Questions and answers on the new ADRs for light vehicle emissions.