Which?: Only 3 out of 200 Cars Are as Fuel Efficient as They Claim

After conducting an extensive and thorough study, Which? magazine have said that drivers are spending an average of £133 more on fuel a year than manufacturers claim they would have. In fact, only three out of the two-hundred cars they tested achieved the official mpg touted by their manufacturers, and on average cars fell short by 13%. This won’t come as that big a revelation to many drivers who have learned not to hope to reach their car’s advertised mpg, and are inserted glad to get anywhere near it.

On the plus side, the three successful models were the Mazda 3 Fastback with 2L engine, the 5- door, manual Skoda Roomster with 1.2L engine and the 5-door, automatic Skoda Yeti with 2L diesel engine. The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV hybrid had the biggest disparity between advertised efficiency and actual efficiency, with twice the fuel costs customers are led to expect. It could only reach 67 mpg in tests despite being sold as a car that can hit 148mpg.

One of the problems that drew Which? to launch such an extensive and investigative test is that the fuel efficiency tests that manufacturers claim to base their advertised figures on haven’t been updated in about eighteen years. These tests are not sensitive enough to advances in modern cars, and also fail to recreate real world roads and driving as accurately as they could do. They also don’t account for lots of the features in modern vehicles that we commonly use rather than turn off to maximise efficiency, such as air conditioning, radio, heated seats and heated windows. In these outdated tests, every single thing that can be altered to maximise efficiency within its lax parameters is altered. For example, they take off every non-primary light and keep the headlights turned off, take off door mirrors, roof rails, remove the spare tyre and adjust the air pressure of the tyres, all to try and guarantee optimum efficiency. The current test merely records the car’s optimum efficiency as it runs through unrealistic driving conditions at a slow, consistent pace; it doesn’t tell us about a car’s genuine mpg.

Which? magazine is demanding that the European Commission introduce an updated test in at least the next two years and not succumb to pressure from the car industry to delay this needed change.

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