AADA Members Guide to Real-World Testing of Vehicle Efficiency

The Australian Automobile Association (AAA) has begun to test the fuel consumption and emissions of vehicles in real-world conditions, known as the ‘Real-World Testing Program’.

Announced in the October 2022 Budget, the Australian Government committed $14 million to fund the program. Over the next four years, the AAA will test 200 different cars, utes and electric vehicles on Australian roads to see how their fuel consumption and CO2 emissions match up to their lab results.

The results from the first nine vehicles tested has been released and can be viewed here.

What does this mean for Dealers?

Consumers who are seeking to purchase a new vehicle may have questions regarding the Real-World Program results and how these results may differ from mandated lab test results.

The fuel consumption sticker reflects the results of the mandatory lab test conducted for all new cars being sold in Australia.

The real-world testing results reflect performance on a public roads route that has been designed to include a representative mix of urban and rural roads, as well as a motorway.

Conducting testing in real-world driving conditions means no two tests will be 100 per cent identical, due to weather and traffic. But on-road testing captures driving conditions that lab testing cannot.

This often results in differences in testing results between lab and real-world testing, which may prompt customers to question these differences.

The AADA advises Dealers to direct customers to the AAA website which contains a number of resources which cover questions such as:

  • Why is real-world testing needed?
  • How does real-world testing work?
  • What is wrong with laboratory tests?
  • How was the testing route developed?
  • How many cars will be tested and when?
  • How will vehicles be chosen for testing?
  • Are electric vehicles included?
  • How is this different to the fuel consumption sticker?

While this program is not a mandated test, it is important that Dealers familiarise themselves with this testing program to effectively communicate with customers who have questions regarding the program.

Resources available

Program brochure: Introducing the Real-World Testing Program

For further information on mandated lab testing, Dealers can direct consumers to the Department of Infrastructure and Transport.

For further information on real-world testing, Dealers can direct consumers to the AAA.