Europe Fuel Economy - Official Figures Vs The Real World


Each new car in the UK has three official fuel consumption (fuel economy) - Urban, Extra-Urban and Combined. Urban should represent city driving, Extra-Urban should represent national roads and highways, and Combined should represent the total value. But most drivers will tell you that they can't get close to the official fuel-efficient car statistics, and it often drives them crazy.

How is the fuel economy calculated?

The first thing you need to understand is that “official” car economy statistics are not measured by the manufacturer. Instead, they fight for the government at the same level as the EU, using a well-established and carefully controlled laboratory testing system - known as the New European Driving Cycle. This means that every car sold in Europe can be compared using the same tests, so you can compare the fuel savings associated with Car A and Car B. However, this system has its drawbacks.

One of the problems is that testing methods are simple and do not pay much tax on the car, which means that the results will be very good. There are also no problems such as hills, winds, traffic jams, different drivers using different modes of driving, climate change, luggage, airless tires, and more that will disrupt fuel savings. The results will always be excellent.

Another problem is that car manufacturers have excellent ability to design their own vehicles to be able to pass government specific tests, such as gasoline use and crash tests. Modern on-board computers control all aspects of your car's performance, and those computers are designed to perform well under the precise conditions used to evaluate fuel economy, even if they do not control the vehicle's normal operating environment. You’re kidding, huh?

The result is that the official fuel saving figures will probably be much better than you would expect in the real world (unless you do all your driving downhill). So why not make tests just so difficult? However, mainly because that would mean that you would not be able to compare a car tested under a new road with a car tested under an old road, and re-inspect every car that has been on the market since 1999 (at the time the test was designed) is not economically feasible. There is also nothing much more interesting to manufacturers, as strict testing can make their new cars look more economical than their old cars, even if this is not really the case. Various other people or bodies have had trouble providing “real” fuel figures to cars, the latest of which is WhatCar? New magazine edition of 'True MPG'. Although the fuel-saving numbers they offer may be 'more real' (i.e. - dry) than official tests by driving on 'real roads' and carry a lot of weight, they cannot comply with laboratory test compliance conclusions and introduce new margins to error. when evaluating what you can expect the fuel economy of a car to be in your conditions.

So how do I know what kind of fuel can I expect?

From a consumer perspective, the best way to look at any fuel economy claim is to look at a car's limited economy as a guide to its economy as a whole. If your current car is officially rated at 30mpg but you only reach 18mpg in your drive, you can expect the same rate if you look at a new car that is officially rated at 60mpg (therefore, expect to get around 36mpg). The more you understand fuel economy and the impact your driving conditions will be, the better you will be if you want to buy your next car.

Stuart Masson is the founder and owner of The Car Expert, a London-based independent and impartial shopping center for anyone who wants to buy a new or used car.

An Australian native, Stuart has had a passion for the automotive and automotive industry for nearly three decades, and has spent the past seven years working in the car dealership industry, in Australia and London.

At last it is showed that, Stuart has combined his extensive knowledge of all things related to the car with his knowledge of car sales and bringing high levels of customer satisfaction to bring a unique and personalized car buying agency to London. The Automotive Specialist offers specific and tailored advice to anyone looking for a new or used car in London.


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