Report: Mercedes-Benz Biggest Manipulator Of Euro Fuel-Efficiency Test Results

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon
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report mercedes benz biggest manipulator of euro fuel efficiency test results

The oft-maligned European fuel-efficiency testing cycle have produced a few manipulators, per green lobby group Transport & Environment, with Mercedes-Benz as the biggest offender.

According to Automotive News Europe, T&E proclaimed the automaker’s lineup would cost an owner an additional €5,600 ($6,931 USD) in fuel over the lifetime of a vehicle. The figure comes from its 2014 Mind the Gap report, which forecasts drivers will spend 1.5 times more on fuel by 2020 than they do currently:

If your new Mercedes car swallows 40 percent more fuel than the brochure promised, it’s not your heavy-footed driving. Rather it’s because Mercedes are the current leaders at manipulating the way vehicles are tested, producing official fuel economy figures in the labs that cannot be replicated in the real world.

Mercedes product strategy and planning chief Johannes Reifenrath says his employer is aware of the deviation, adding that the driver plays a massive role in how a vehicle’s fuel economy fares in the real world. Reifenrath reminded T&E and other critics that the testing procedures “are not determined by the automakers… the EU Commission defines the rules we have to play by.”

T&E’s report states the gap between the lab and the real world had grown across all brands between 2001 and 2013, leaping from 8 percent to 31 percent for private owners. The group is calling for reforms in fuel-efficiency testing, with a focus on more real-world results.

Cameron Aubernon
Cameron Aubernon

Seattle-based writer, blogger, and photographer for many a publication. Born in Louisville. Raised in Kansas. Where I lay my head is home.

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17 of 29 comments
  • Kosmo Kosmo on Nov 07, 2014

    So let's see if I've got this straight: A government agency decides what mileage figures must be attained, and how this goal will be measured, then car makers (gasp) figure out how to do as well as possible in these mandated tests, and (gasp again) THEY are the bad ones? Ridiculous government testing procedures are responsible for the current crop of smaller turbocharged engines, which all get phenomenal mileage, unless (third gasp) you actually use the turbo.

    • See 4 previous
    • Scoutdude Scoutdude on Nov 07, 2014

      @Brian P All engines need to run rich under a load to protect themselves. However the standard test does not include any conditions where they will enter power enrichment mode. You can get any car to "belch black smoke under the right conditions". The turbo allows better mpg when it is set up so that under normal cruising conditions the engine is not creating vacuum there by reducing the pumping loss. It also works as sort of a variable displacement so that you have the extra power when wanted, ie act like a large displacement engine, but other times act like it is the rated displacement.

  • Avatar77 Avatar77 on Nov 07, 2014

    Just came to call out the horrendous integration of the front parking sensors on that CLA.

  • Brumus Brumus on Nov 07, 2014

    Mercedes-Benz is the biggest manipulator of many things, this included.

  • HotPotato HotPotato on Nov 09, 2014

    People who lie, cheat, and steal are behaving unethically. People who would defend others for lying, cheating and stealing are behaving foolishly. If you revere the market, you should revere fixed standards, because they help solve the asymmetrical information problem that prevents markets from functioning properly: consumers cannot make informed choices if the manufacturer has the information and the consumer does not. If a manufacturer games the test, they are essentially stealing from manufacturers who present accurate good-faith test results.