Mileage fraud is a widespread problem and safety issue across the EU. It affects second-hand car markets and can cause harm to consumers, environment and road safety. To protect the trade in used cars, the European Parliament is pushing for tighter controls to prevent odometer fraud.
At this automobile inspection centre in Belgium, mileage recordings are checked for each vehicle, then stored in a database. The centre issues a document called Car Pass, listing the vehicle's mileage on each visit. It's updated every year, as shown here. It's official and it cannot be interfered with. This system has dramatically reduced odometer fraud in Belgium. Periodic registrations of odometer readings during technical inspections are part of a range of measures proposed by the European Parliament. Members are pushing for mileage records to be stored in a secure EU-wide database. If you have permanent control of this, you cannot manipulate it anymore. Therefore, in the first step we are trying to establish national databanks in all the different member states. In the EU, odometer manipulation affects 30 to 50% of all used vehicles traded across borders. The estimated damage to the EU economy is huge, from 6 to 9 billion euros. These old manipulated cars are polluting more CO2, more NOx and so on, and at the same time we have an issue of road safety. To better prevent fraud, Parliament is also calling on automobile manufacturers to develop further safeguards against odometer manipulation. In the meantime, only six EU countries recognise odometer manipulation as a criminal offence and members call on all EU countries to do so.