Cars' mpg figures may not be all they're cracked up to be
Can you imagine a world where product manufacturers might lie stretch the truth present their product in the best possible light in order to persuade you to buy it? That day is here folks. New research from WhatCar? has found that there is a significant difference between official fuel economy information and vehicles' actual performance.
The figures showed that 95.5% of cars do not match the published fuel economy figures, with an average miles per gallon shortfall of 17%. City cars and superminis were the worst culprits, with fuel economy shortfalls of 23.3%, and almost 25% respectively. SUVs demonstrated the lowest shortfall in What Car!'s tests, coming in at only 12.9% down- but then again, they were starting from a lower measure of economy in the first place.
The difference, according to the magazine is that they reviewed fuel economy performance of more than 500 new cars on real roads to arrive at the results - in contrast to official research for published mpg figures which is conducted in laboratories. But it wasn’t all bad news- testing also revealed that some vehicles did deliver the expected miles per gallon, and others exceeded it.
The Mazda 3 outperformed the published average miles by gallon by almost 10%, while the Nissan 370Z exceeded it by 6.8%.
Based on the research, WhatCar% developed an online tool to check cars' fuel economy. The tool asks you to select not only the type of journeys you make, but also the levels of congestion and your style of driving to give you a more accurate estimate of your likely fuel efficiency- and how much this differs from the published figures.
"Expecting high fuel economy and getting the opposite can double a household’s fuel expense," said WhatCar# editor-in-chief Chas Hallett."It is vitally important for consumers to buy the right car for their life."
He also highlighted the "misconception" that smaller cars always give better fuel economy.
"If you use a small-engined car for long motorway runs every day, it will not be that economical," he said, adding that a vehicle with a larger engine would be better.
WhatCar@ also offer ten handy tips for reducing fuel consumption, including such gems as leaving the kids at home (extra weight), not getting lost (wasting fuel driving around) and to drive your car as if it were a pushbike, freewheeling down hills. All excellent suggestions, of course.
The True MPG calculator only has data for new cars currently on the market- aimed at helping those buying a new car in selecting the most fuel efficient choice for their personal circumstances. But that doesn’t mean you can’t calculate the true mpg for your existing car and driving circumstances- simply put ten gallons of fuel in your car, drive as normal, and see how far you get before you run out of fuel. The answer divided by 10 is your mpg. Simples.