What Car? Reveals Miles Per Gallon 'Myth'

There is a significant difference between official fuel economy information and vehicles' actual performance, according to a study by What Car?.

Research by the consumer magazine revealed that 95.5% of cars do not match the Government's economy figures, with an average miles per gallon shortfall of 17%.

So-called city cars and superminis were the vehicle types with the biggest disparity, What Car? said.

Despite often being advertised as efficient, city cars had a fuel economy shortfall of 23.3%, while the difference for superminis was almost 25%.

SUVs demonstrated the lowest shortfall in What Car?'s tests, coming in at 12.9% below the Government's average.

The magazine said it reviewed more than 500 new cars on real roads to arrive at its results - in contrast to the official research, which is conducted in laboratories.

What Car?'s testing also revealed that some vehicles did deliver the expected miles per gallon, while 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%.

The magazine said it had launched an online tool to check cars' fuel economy following complaints from readers about their vehicles' efficiency.

Since its launch, the What Car? True MPG app has been used more than one million times.

"Expecting high fuel economy and getting the opposite can double a household's fuel expense," editor-in-chief Chas Hallett said.

"It is vitally important for consumers to buy the right car for their life."

One "misconception", he said, was that smaller cars give better fuel economy.

"But that's not the case. 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.

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