Ottawa to introduce new fuel efficiency standards for vehicles
by Dan Ilika
New ratings will include high speed, rapid acceleration and braking testing for passenger vehicles
TORONTO—The federal Conservatives are rolling out new fuel consumption ratings for cars and light trucks in Canada next year that incorporate more real-world testing.
Announced by Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver, the new ratings will better account for drivers’ typical styles and habits, including driving at higher speeds, rapid acceleration and braking and using a vehicle’s air conditioning system while driving.
The new testing will also be done in colder conditions.
“Canadians want fuel consumption ratings that reflect their everyday driving experience,” Oliver said in a statement. “Our government is standing up for consumers by offering families information they can use to pick the right car for them—and save money in the process.”
Currently, fuel consumption testing is done in a controlled environment where a vehicle is placed on a dynamometer and a trained driver runs it through a standardized driving routine outlined in a two-cycle testing schedule.
In it, the vehicle is run for 44 minutes in combined city and highway driving, where the average speed on the highway is 78 km/h and the top speed is 97 km/h—three kilometres per hour slower than the speed limit on Ontario’s 400 series highways.
Simulated city driving sees the vehicle hit an average speed of 34 km/h.
Testing is done in temperatures ranging from 20° to 30°C.
Four-wheel and all-wheel drive vehicles are tested in two-wheel drive, and sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and passenger vans with gross vehicle weight ratings (GVWRs) of more than 10,000 lbs. are not required to submit fuel consumption data.
Under new testing, vehicles will be put through a five-cycle program that contains the old city and highway regimen, but also includes more than 30 minutes of city driving at -7°C, as well as city driving in a 35°C chamber with the vehicle’s air conditioning system running and a 10-minute high speed and quick acceleration test that will see the vehicle reach speeds of 129 km/h.
The new testing standards will be implemented this year on new 2015 vehicle models.
Natural Resources Canada is also working to introduce new EnerGuide labels for the 2016 model year.