Estonia to collect data on realistic fuel consumption of vehicles

Gas station.
Gas station. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Starting from May this year, vehicle inspection stations will have to collect data on the realistic fuel consumption of passenger vehicles and some light trucks. The requirement comes from the European Commission.

Vehicle inspection stations are obligated to start collecting average fuel consumption data of the vehicles they service as the European Commission wants to make sure vehicles are as economical as their manufacturers claim.

"The aim of data collection is to protect consumers in making sure quoted fuel consumption matches reality. Environmental considerations are another," said Carl Joosep Piirfeldt, head of vehicles and register services at the Estonian Transport Administration.

He added that quoted fuel consumption might not be accurate in all cases and manufacturers are also interested in collecting real world data to make sure what they promise is accurate.

Fears associated with surveillance are groundless.

"The regulation is not aimed at surveillance of drivers and rather aims to monitor manufacturers and make sure they do not exceed permitted CO2 emissions limits," Piirfeldt said.

The Transport Administration will forward the data to the European Commission once a year and then remove it from the traffic register.

Data to be collected using a special device

Data will be collected using a special OBD device, meaning that inspectors will not have to pull up the data on the vehicle's menu screens.

The Transport Administration said that not all inspections stations currently have these devices or are using outdated software. Piirfeldt said that it is believed some inspection stations will have to buy new devices, which cost around €800.

Data will be collected for M1 category passenger vehicles and N1 category trucks (effective mass of up to 3.5 tons) registered after January 1, 2021, and equipped with the necessary on-board devices for measuring fuel economy and energy consumption. The requirement only concerns ICE and hybrid-electric vehicles.

Every manufacturer's average emissions to be determined

The European Commission has been publishing anonymized aggregate data for each manufacturer since last December. The data looked at includes average fuel consumption, (liters per 100 kilometers), average electricity consumption (kilowatt-hours per 100 kilometers), average CO2 emissions (grams per kilometer). Discrepancies between the data and that presented by manufacturers is also disclosed.

Member States present preliminary data on new vehicles to the European Commission on an annual basis. The Commission then forwards it to manufacturers who check the data and notify the Commission of necessary corrections.

The data is used to determine the manufacturer's average CO2 emissions and whether the figure is in line with the reference level.

Piirfedlt said that data reflecting the real world situation needs to be collected as soon as possible as it is necessary to establish how the difference between real world emissions and reference levels quoted by manufacturers changes over time.

Manufacturers are also collecting fuel consumption data themselves.

"The data is collected by authorized dealers and services in cases where on-board diagnostics data needs to be accessed anyway," the Transport Administration's spokesperson said.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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