Many people are making a big story about the software in VW diesel engines that allowed the cars to run their emission hardware for the entire time the car was being tested.
But it is not just VW who has been doing this.
Have you seen the EU emission figures lately?
Car manufacturers are designing their cars from day one to beat the EU emission tests.
And by beat, I mean being able to score extremely good marks even though the car is an SUV or a Supercar.
Have you seen the “official” C02 emissions for the Porsche 918, or the Porsche Cayenne Hybrid.
Why do you think automated gearboxes are so popular now among car manufacturers?
Because they can program the gearboxes to use these least possible fuel when the car is being tested.
How can these hybrid vehicles with tiny batteries and tiny range score such low emissions?
Because the batteries are designed to last for the duration of the test or as close to the end of the test as necessary.
So who is more wrong?
The supercar manufacturer who fits their supercar with a battery so it can score a wickedly low emissions rating on the government test or the car manufacturer who has software that reduces the emissions when the car is being tested?
And what about the car manufacturer that programs their gearbox to give the lowest possible engine emissions when the car is being tested?
Surely there is no difference at all.
The fact is when you have a test, the people who are taking that test are always going to exploit the rules to get the best possible mark.
Just look at Formula 1, the teams take the rules to the extreme to get an advantage.
It is this human competition that gives us 200mph supercars and why we are not all driving Ladas.
There is no way the government can regulate the actions that VW took.
VW could quite easily come back and say that yes, there was software that made the emissions much lower but the purpose of this software was to make the car safer when it was being used in a confined environment like a car park or a rolling road.
How is the government going to say no, you can not have these measures on your car, you cannot protect people when the car is driven in a confined place.
(In fact I wonder why VW has not put this spin on this story)
At the end of the day the only real regulators when it comes to fuel economy and emissions is the free media. Magazines and newspapers who test cars.
As soon as the government comes in and starts measuring fuel economy and exhaust emissions, people ignore any independent media figures because the government would not lie to us.
When the government gets involved in these issues it destroys impartiality, it makes the results of the test meaningless because by its very nature the government has to come up with a standardised test to measure fuel economy and to measure exhaust emissions.
As soon as there is a standardised test, immediately human ingenuity is going to start working on how we can get the best possible results on the government test which the government tells the public is the holy grail of figures.
It would be much more effective for the government not to get involved, each magazine or blog would have its own testing procedures, which they could even keep secret and then the public could come to the conclusion as to which media outlet was giving the best figures by comparing it against their real world experience of the car.
Again, it is not just VW who should be in the spotlight here, every single car manufacturer on the planet wants to get as good as results as possible on the government tests.
Let us see what measures they have taken to get a good test score……
How anyone can accuse VW of cheating while allowing company X to design a hybrid car which scores artificially low numbers which bear no resemblance to the real world is beyond me.
In short, this #VWGate story is a non story, the real problem is that the government specifies a standardised test which it says is the best, test by which taxes are set, a test whose procedure it publishes so the manufacturer know exactly what they have to do to get a good number.
Until the government gets out of the arena and taxes cars based on engine size or something equally simplistic this issue will never end, it will always exist in some form or another.
Again, the government needs to come up with the most simple and basic measure of efficiency as possible ie engine size or horsepower.
To give another example of how #VWGate is being blown out of all proportion, look at modern cars with the use of turbos.
There is only one reason manufacturers use turbos and that is to score good marks on the government tests.
Turbos score great on these tests but they have a much much bigger capability to produce C02 than normally aspirated cars.
This consequence is the exact opposite of the stated goal of the government tests.
What is next?
Is Peugeot going to be in the dock for moving to turbos to get good results on these emission tests?
Even though the car will burn much more fuel than a normally aspirated car as soon as you put your foot down.
Again, the whole story gets more and more ridiculous the more you think about it.
There is a major problem here but it is not VW.
It is government trying to regulate us into fuel efficiency, when fuel efficiency is what everyone wants to start with, in short government regulations are completely unnecessary.
Of course, you are not going to hear this in the media……