Australia’s peak automotive body will fund research into the analysis of real-world vehicle emissions following the Volkswagen Group emissions scandal that exposed the inadequacies of local and global testing standards.

The Australian Automobile Association (AAA) today announced plans for an 18-month research project into the emissions of new vehicles sold on our shores following the recent revelation that millions of Volkswagen Group vehicles sold around the world have been fitted with defeat devices designed to understate the emissions the produce.

The AAA’s research will help inform the creation of a national emissions testing regime planned under the Federal Government’s Ministerial Forum on vehicle emissions.

AAA CEO Michael Bradley says his association – which represents Australia’s motoring clubs (RACV, NRMA, etc.) – is “very concerned” that the government currently has no capacity to test, audit or enforce elements of its current vehicle emissions regulatory regime.

“Action must be taken to test the emissions claims made by vehicle manufacturers and as the leading consumer advocate for almost eight million Australian motorists, the AAA is willing to step up to the plate,” Bradley said.

“There is a debate emerging around the adequacy of Australia’s current vehicle emission standards, but this debate risks being rendered meaningless unless a more relevant testing regime is put in place.

“The Volkswagen scandal clearly shows that regulators across the globe now need to be assessing the emissions produced by vehicles in the real-world, not just those produced in a laboratory.”

Bradley explained the AAA has commissioned an independent engineering firm to commence on-road testing of new vehicles in Australia from early 2016. He said the testing would be consistent with the Real Driving Emissions methods and protocols developed by the European Commission, assessing “the emissions produced by popular vehicles on the Australian market when driven on Australian roads in Australian conditions”.

In October, the Federal Government announced the establishment of the Ministerial Forum for the purpose of developing a fresh approach to issues associated vehicle emissions, including options for managing fuel quality standards, new reporting standards for air pollutants, and new measures to deliver Australia’s 2030 climate change targets.