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Official MPG Figures Unrealistic, Says UK Auto Magazine

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the your-mileage-may-vary dept.

Transportation 238

Taco Cowboy (5327) writes "Research carried out by UK consumer magazine What Car? which concluded that official manufacturers' MPG figures are unrealistic. Based on the research, new car buyers in the UK who trust official, government-sanctioned fuel economy figures will pay an average of £1,000 (€1,216) more than they expect on fuel over a three-year period. Since launching True MPG two years ago, What Car? has tested almost 400 cars in real-world conditions, using cutting-edge test equipment and achieving economy figures that are on average 19% lower than the government figures."

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Real-world conditions (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47091219)

Under-inflated tires, lousy fuel, ignored maintenance, rapid acceleration, more than one occupant / actual cargo, stop-and-go traffic, air pollution, air pressure variation, air temperature variation, elevation variation...

And these are just a few of the things that would cause your "official" MPG figures to deviate from observations.

Re:Real-world conditions (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47091245)

Probably also driving too fast... European emission standards require testing at 90km/h, while the max speed in most EU countries is 120 or 130km/h

Re:Real-world conditions (5, Informative)

Chrisq (894406) | about 5 months ago | (#47091249)

Under-inflated tires, lousy fuel, ignored maintenance, rapid acceleration, more than one occupant / actual cargo, stop-and-go traffic, air pollution, air pressure variation, air temperature variation, elevation variation...

And these are just a few of the things that would cause your "official" MPG figures to deviate from observations.

That's all true, but manufacturers go to great lengths to inflate the figure. They disconnect the alternator, tape up cracks in the bodywork to improve airflow, remove wing mirrors(!), disconnect the brakes to reduce friction and use special oils in the engine to improve efficiency. [carconsultantni.com] Figures are not just a bit off but way off. My car has an official figure of 68.9mpg. On a good trip, driving on a flat road at about 70 mph I can get 54, but my usual average is 35 mpg. This is with gentle driving, I can easily take it down to 25 if I don't take care.

Re:Real-world conditions (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47091297)

That's all true, but manufacturers go to great lengths to inflate the figure.

I do wonder how someone so odiously dishonest as to participate in the practices you describe could ever become an engineer for a successful international brand.

Then, as someone who has been self-employed since 2003 and who has seen such a huge change in the way clients behave over the past decade, I wonder whether odious dishonesty today is a job requirement.

Re:Real-world conditions (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47091323)

Not so much about being dishonest... It's more like one competitor starting to do it and the rest has to follow or their product looks bad.

Re:Real-world conditions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47091559)

Not so much about being dishonest... It's more like one competitor starting to do it and the rest has to follow or their product looks bad.

In other words, yes, being totally, utterly, corrupted-to-the-bone-marrow, screw-the-customer dishonest!

Re:Real-world conditions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47091635)

Capitalism at its finest!

Re:Real-world conditions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47091955)

It appears as though you don't understand capitalism. In true capitalism there would be no barriers to entry, thus this behavior would have competitors that could easily be start up and would quickly cause businesses that practiced such dishonest means to loose income, thus eventually forcing them to the honest track. This however is not possible with some fields (cars being one). To create a good car you need a lot of resources, that are not available to most of us starting out. This still isn't a serious problem as one can find lenders to forward these funds that would allow them to build these better cars. However, the one thing that can not be avoided in our current system is patents, these grant a monopoly to a singular entity. Because of them we can not create a better system, as pretty much everything you expect in a vehicle is patented. If you do not play by their rules there is no reason they have to let you use their patents. We would have a fully open source cell phone now if it were not for patents, and a line of good open source cars that would rival the cars on the market.
Capitalism is not at fault for this, it the exact opposite. Monopolies of any kind are anti capitalist, and they are the corner stone of what we hate about capitalism. If you dislike something just make something better, well not with the monopolistic patents. They will be used to stop you thus preventing such a start-up. After all if you had a real choice then you would be able to choose an honest dealer. (And yes, I know there is some choice. But a cartel behaves almost identically to a monopoly. They are just as bad for the economy. Don't believe me, then design an engine that does not infringe on any patents. I do not believe it can be done, well not for an engine that is useful or anyone wants anyway.)
Capitalism is not any more to blame for this, than socialism is for the holocaust.

Which is why sometimes small engines ... (3, Interesting)

Viol8 (599362) | about 5 months ago | (#47091349)

.... arn't the best solution. If they're so underpowered or peaky - like a lot of the new generation coming along - then people will tend to drive with their foot flat to the floor a lot mroe often which hammers fuel consumption and doesn't do the mechanicals any favours. Whereas with a bigger engine this is less of the case and you can get equivalent mpg except with a less stressed engine that isn't going to blow a seal after 75K miles because of components being worked to their limit to make up for the idiotically small capacity.

Of course left to their own devices no manufacturer would be dumb enough to put a 1.0L engine in a 1.5 ton car but EU regs now require silly emissions targets being met in these unrealistics tests so the manufacturers have no choice.

Re:Which is why sometimes small engines ... (2)

Justpin (2974855) | about 5 months ago | (#47091373)

1.0 litre engine in a 1.5 ton car... it happens! a lot of specified weights car manufactures use are dry not kerb weight. To get around the emissions standards for a while small engines (even 2 and 3 cylinders) were put into normal cars but they were given turbo chargers to cheat the regs. Sometimes it worked like the Daihatsu copen, 900kilos wet, with a 660cc engine which was turbo charged.

Re:Which is why sometimes small engines ... (2)

Sique (173459) | about 5 months ago | (#47091415)

It has not so much to do with emission standards, but with car taxes that are mostly coupled with engine displacement. A car with a smaller engine costs less in car related taxes, and thus buyers flock to the smaller engines, because the cars are cheaper to keep. The same is true for insurance, whose tariffs are often coupled with the power output, again making the smaller engine more cost efficient.

Re:Which is why sometimes small engines ... (4, Informative)

CeasedCaring (1527717) | about 5 months ago | (#47091675)

In the UK, road tax has not been linked to displacement since March 2001 - it's all about emissions (CO2 in g/km) these days. See https://www.gov.uk/vehicle-tax... [www.gov.uk]

Re:Which is why sometimes small engines ... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47091659)

gasoline engines are most efficient when loaded hard

Re:Which is why sometimes small engines ... (3, Insightful)

KozmoStevnNaut (630146) | about 5 months ago | (#47091847)

A lot of the "new generation" of cars will have small turbocharged engines with direct injection and variable valve timing. Most will develop over 200Nm torque from below 2000rpm, not peaky at all. In fact, a lot of these cars with these engines are already on the road and have proven themselves both reliable and fuel efficient, as long as the owners actually drive them properly.

My car is decidedly old-tech in comparison, with a 2.2L naturally-aspirated 4-cylinder, rated at 8.8L/100km (27.7mpg). I average 9.0L/100km (26.1mpg) in mostly city and motorway driving, with ~160,000km on the odometer. I drive normally, stick to the speed limit or 5-10 over depending on the situation, and try to look ahead and anticipate traffic. It really isn't that hard to get very close to the ideal fuel consumption figures, you just have to relearn how to drive instead of going full-throttle/full-brake all the time.

Re:Real-world conditions (2)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 5 months ago | (#47091399)

I'm surprised they don't test the mpg by throwing the cars from a high altitude bomber.

Re:Real-world conditions (2)

Pieroxy (222434) | about 5 months ago | (#47091583)

infinite mpg looks suspicious so far. Give it time.

Re:Real-world conditions (0)

Luckyo (1726890) | about 5 months ago | (#47091407)

All the tricks you mention would only improve the number by a fairly small percentarge, likely low double digits.

You are claiming that your normal usage doubles your fuel consumption. That suggests that most of the problem is in your driving style.

Re:Real-world conditions (1)

Ginger Unicorn (952287) | about 5 months ago | (#47091549)

Why on earth do government let the manufacturers report their own consumption figures? That's like letting me write my own MOT certificate every year.

Re:Real-world conditions (4, Informative)

MightyYar (622222) | about 5 months ago | (#47091597)

This story is about European standards which are a bit wacky, but I know they get spot-checked in the US. Hyundai paid out a huge settlement for (apparently honestly) screwing up the testing.

Remember that your competitors are probably testing your cars, too :)

Re:Real-world conditions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47091625)

Most EU standards you can self-certify for. This is good for most part as it does not harm small companies that cannot afford a test lab to do tests you can easily do yourself just as accurate.

Re:Real-world conditions (2)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 5 months ago | (#47091767)

Even if the honest reporting of fuel economies was a high priority, these folks who measure vehicles versus a standardized test would get better and better results over time using the same automobile. Rather than a general improvement in mileage rates for the average customer, the results would be indicative of learning to perform better on the test.

The purchaser of the vehicle would be ensured a mileage rating that was measured in a specific way, which may or may not be reflective of the way he will be driving.

That said, even despite cheating, conniving, fudging numbers, and leaving "light trucks" as a separate category, the CAFE legislation enacted by the US gov't has made a marked improvement in the average fuel economy of new vehicles... whether or not that led to actual conservation or more driving is for another argument.

Re:Real-world conditions (1)

Zocalo (252965) | about 5 months ago | (#47091341)

Yeah, lots of things could impact efficiency, car condition and driving style being the main two. I keep my tire pressures up, use decent fuel, check the oil regularly, don't keep a load of junk in the car, don't accellerate too quickly, decellerate by anticipating traffic and lifting off as much as possible, try to time journeys to avoid heavy traffic, and, most importantly, keep the speed down to something more realistic (without being a mobile chicane) than those who drive as fast as they think they can get away with. That all gives me about 40% better mileage than what I'm apparently supposed to, which at my mileage and EU fuel prices adds to a saving well in excess of what I'm supposed to be losing according to TFA, although that does drop significantly if I drive more aggressively. Did they take that kind of stuff into account with their tests, or just get a bunch of random drivers who quite possibly don't have a very efficient driving style to drive a precribed route and then submit fuel usage figures? They don't say, just "experienced engineers, who drive test vehicles over a variety of real roads, including motorways, 'A' and 'B' roads and through towns and villages", which says nothing about the car itself.

Re:Real-world conditions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47091653)

Yes, I too get higher mileage than the official estimates for my last two cars, by driving carefully.

Re:Real-world conditions (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | about 5 months ago | (#47091953)

There are a lot of factors that affect fuel mileage, but it's been suggested that the ECM can detect whether they're on a standardized emissions or efficiency test and change the settings accordingly. I wish I remembered where I had seen that article.

Re:Real-world conditions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47091431)

Under-inflated tires, lousy fuel, ignored maintenance, rapid acceleration, more than one occupant / actual cargo, stop-and-go traffic, air pollution, air pressure variation, air temperature variation, elevation variation...

And these are just a few of the things that would cause your "official" MPG figures to deviate from observations.

EXACTLY.

And for more evidence of this, I've been driving for almost 30 years now. Every car I've purchased has actually achieved better gas mileage than advertised, likely because of my driving habits.

In summary, people are spoiled and impatient. This leads to keeping the A/C pumping when it's comfortable outside, and general procrastination gives birth to lead-foot disease.

Re:Real-world conditions (1, Interesting)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about 5 months ago | (#47091593)

I'm a hypermiler. I get 51 mpg out of my diesel minivan, But I have to work really hard at it, drive slowly, draft trucks, avoid braking, coast and engine-brake whenever I can. It's so much work I usually can't drive with the radio on, to avoid distraction.

Fuelly [fuelly.com] shows the same model/year minivan routinely gets 35 mpg or less in normal driving condition. So it's almost entirely a matter of driving style rather than technical tricks.

Re:Real-world conditions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47091929)

i have been hypermiling, too. my car is a 1996 corvette with 110000
miles on it. i get 15.5 mpg with all the tricks, and 14.7 if i drive with
wild abandon. the same car on the highway gets closer to 30 with
no special effort. (epa figures: 15/24.)

say hi to flash for me.

Re:Real-world conditions (4, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | about 5 months ago | (#47091661)

Also set up wrong by the manufacturer. The 2007 honda civic has a highway MPG rating of 40mpg. I regularly get 44-46 while speeding after I fixed their design flaw in the rear end. they set the car with significant negative rear camber and with about 2 degrees of toe, I reset it to zero and zero and not only did fuel mileage numbers skyrocket by 10-15% but rear tire wear dropped to zero or undetectable. From what I can tell they STILL sell civics with this flaw, and the Honda Fit as well suffers from it.

Granted I only have about 10,000 miles of testing on this new adjustment, but there is no measurable tire wear on the rear and my wife has been driving it to work and back daily on a 45 mile commute as if she was in an indy car race trying to do 75-80mph. Gas mileage is measured two ways. 1st odometer+fuel used at the pump and a Scan Gauge I installed. they are within 1mpg of each other.

There is only one drawback to the change, the car is slightly more sensitive to steering input. I notice it, she does not. I am going to next add 2 degree of camber from the front to make it closer to zero as well as remove 2 degree of toe that may make the steering a bit too twitchy but you never know until you try. right now it has more than 8 degrees of camber and what looks like 9 degrees of toe. so the removal of that should further boost highway fuel economy but not as significantly as the rear end change. The rear was doing nothing but scrubbing the tires all the time, as most civic owners will tell you they have to replace the rear tires a lot as they start to cup, this is because of the dramatic flaw in how the rear end is set up on all 8th gen Civics.

Oh and I do these alignment changes in my garage, the "laser alignment" crap is nothing more than a scam. You can do a better alignment on your garage floor or driveway than the "experts" with the "highly advanced laser system" can.

Re:Real-world conditions (5, Informative)

KozmoStevnNaut (630146) | about 5 months ago | (#47091897)

Also set up wrong by the manufacturer. The 2007 honda civic has a highway MPG rating of 40mpg. I regularly get 44-46 while speeding after I fixed their design flaw in the rear end. they set the car with significant negative rear camber and with about 2 degrees of toe, I reset it to zero and zero and not only did fuel mileage numbers skyrocket by 10-15% but rear tire wear dropped to zero or undetectable. From what I can tell they STILL sell civics with this flaw, and the Honda Fit as well suffers from it.

That's not a flaw, it's a deliberate design to improve stability and handling, especially during mid-corner corrections and emergency maneuvers. The slight toe-in also helps straight line stability.

My car (Peugeot 406) is setup like that as well, it has enough negative rear camber that it is immediately noticeable when looking at the car. If you try to "correct" this by dialing out the camber, the car will be less stable over mid-corner bumps, and the small amount of passive rear steering built in the rear suspension will be negated, further worsening the handling.

What you have done is make your car go from being relatively neutral in corners, to having positive camber when the suspension is loaded up. If you've ever read "Unsafe at any speed" or seen an old VW Beetle corner hard, you will know that having positive camber is one of the most dangerous situations you can be in. So you've actually made your car significantly less safe, all for the sake of a few MPG. Congratulations, I hope you're proud.

Re:Real-world conditions (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 5 months ago | (#47091905)

If it eats the rear tires within 15,000 miles and introduces a vibration within 8000 miles due to cupping, It's a flaw.

Re:Real-world conditions (1)

KozmoStevnNaut (630146) | about 5 months ago | (#47091937)

Cupping has nothing to do with camber or toe, it happens because of bad damping and is a completely unrelated issue.

Regarding the rear tire wear, perhaps you should try a different make and model of tire, or you could try driving less aggressively or less over-loaded. 15000 miles is perfectly normal for a tire with sporting pretensions.

Re:Real-world conditions (0)

Lumpy (12016) | about 5 months ago | (#47092011)

So magically I fixed the problem? Cool! I'm going to sell my magical tools! I'll make millions. And I cant drive any less overloaded with only 1 passenger in the car.
Oh and it's a known issue with ALL 8th gen civics and the FIT, well documented and there is even a lawsuit about it.

But let's not let facts get in the way, you're the expert.

Re:Real-world conditions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47092005)

In other wards being a human being and owning/driving a vehicle.

What's that in KPL? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47091221)

International standards please...

Re:What's that in KPL? (4, Informative)

jspayne (98716) | about 5 months ago | (#47091243)

Your concern might be less of a troll if you knew that the standard metric measure for fuel economy isn't km/l, but rather l / 100km.

Re:What's that in KPL? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47091283)

That's the fun of standards, there's so many to choose from.

From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuel_efficiency (for what it's worth)

The fuel efficiency of vehicles can be expressed in more ways:

        Fuel consumption is the amount of fuel used per unit distance; for example, litres per 100 kilometres (L/100 km). In this case, the lower the value, the more economic a vehicle is (the less fuel it needs to travel a certain distance); this is the measure generally used across Europe (except the UK, Denmark and The Netherlands - see below), New Zealand, Australia and Canada. Also in Uruguay, Paraguay, Guatemala, Colombia, China, and Madagascar.[citation needed], as also in post-Soviet space.

        Fuel economy is the distance travelled per unit volume of fuel used; for example, kilometres per litre (km/L) or miles per gallon (MPG), where 1 MPG (imperial) 0.354006 km/L. In this case, the higher the value, the more economic a vehicle is (the more distance it can travel with a certain volume of fuel). This measure is popular in the USA and the UK (mpg), but in Europe, India, Japan, South Korea and Latin America the metric unit km/L is used instead.

My level of surprise... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47091225)

...is well under 9000.

Yes, the testing standards need to change! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47091261)

The testing standards need to change to reflect real life usage not laboratory engine and drag testing. There is another website called www.fuelly.com that you can track your usage and compare it to others. I purchased a Scion IQ that claimed 4.5 L/100km on the highway. The lowest it got was 6.5L/100km. Now that's an error of 44%! Not many people have purchased this micro car because the whole point is to save money on fuel but it has the same fuel economy as a 4 door car.

No fuel economy figures are going be right (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47091253)

Isn't the more important thing that the all the cars figures are comparable.

Re:No fuel economy figures are going be right (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47091287)

Isn't the more important thing that the all the cars figures are comparable.

Except that odds are good they're not. The tricks used to get one vehicle up to 50mpg may not work on another vehicle (one being a car and another a truck*). The whole reason then to have accurate figures is precisely that it's the only way to make the figures comparable. The real issue, of course, isn't that the figures are accurate. It's whether vehicles manufacturers are intentionally manipulating the numbers precisely because people like you believe that the various cheats they use produce comparable numbers and hence they can commit a clear deception to get you to buy their vehicle over another. Ie, the issue is fundamentally whether there's fraud at play.

*Removing parts of a truck may more doable and you can add a bit of rigid material to greatly increase the aerodynamic performance of a truck vs an already aerodynamic car. So, off-hand, any truck-like car can cheat more than a car-like truck. That doesn't even get into even more fiendish stuff (some aluminum components, diesel instead of gasoline, entirely missing large parts of the engine that'll destroy the engine in a few hours to bring the weight down, etc).

Re:No fuel economy figures are going be right (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | about 5 months ago | (#47091939)

Exactly. If they've got good precision, the information is still useful. You can tell that Car A uses significantly more fuel per mile (or whatever the heck a "kilometer" is) than Car B.

Re:No fuel economy figures are going be right (1)

Legendary Teeth (1087209) | about 5 months ago | (#47091993)

Not if you are trying to estimate the TCO of a car. For example, it matters if you are trying to answer the question "Is it cheaper in the long run to buy this more expensive, more fuel efficient car, compared to this cheaper less efficient one?"

We knew the gist already (3, Insightful)

elwinc (663074) | about 5 months ago | (#47091265)

We pretty much already knew that the MPG we saw on the sticker was higher than the MPG we would actually be getting. Hence the phrase "your mileage may vary."

But we also know that the sticker MPG numbers are good for comparing among similar cars, and that's mostly how we use the sticker MPGs. Kudos and thanks to 'What Car?' for calculating the 19% offset figure. I wonder if they could tell us how the offset varies among different types of cars. Maybe SUVs vs econoboxes vs sports cars have somewhat different offsets.

BTW, I would bet that different driving styles, lead foot vs hypermiling [ecomodder.com] , makes a bigger differnece than the 19% calculated by 'What Car?'

Re:We knew the gist already (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47091395)

You're on a website for programmers and you don't know the difference between an offset and a factor? For shame.

Re:We knew the gist already (1)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | about 5 months ago | (#47091551)

The only important thing is whether the figures can reverse on you. If it's an across the board reduction, who cares? I'd be way more interested if it was possible for the relative efficiency of two vehicles to actually switch around.

Re:We knew the gist already (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47091565)

> But we also know that the sticker MPG numbers are good for comparing among similar cars,

No, you don't know that. You assume that.

When the benchmark doesn't test the things you care about then you can not count on a linear correspondence between the benchmark performance and performance on what you want to measure.

Think of it this way - the manufacturers are "teaching to the test" when they design their cars now. A student who only memorizes the test questions isn't going to have a real knowledge of anything that isn't on the test.

taxes will lead to kludges (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47091269)

Various European nations tax cars based on calculated mpg. also, it is useful in swaying fuel conscious customers, where gasoline is about $8/gallon. In America, the EPA numbers tend to be close to real world mpg, and if people want to get high mpg, avoid the SUV, or go straight for the Prius. The Prius is that good.

Re:taxes will lead to kludges (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | about 5 months ago | (#47091305)

Except that the Prius costs more energy to make than many vehicles with a higher fuel consumption.

Re:taxes will lead to kludges (2)

TClevenger (252206) | about 5 months ago | (#47091371)

Except that the Prius costs more energy to make than many vehicles with a higher fuel consumption.

I'm willing to bet that it doesn't take much more energy than other cars its weight.

Re:taxes will lead to kludges (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 5 months ago | (#47091673)

If you ignore the lithium ion battery pack? yes.

Re:taxes will lead to kludges (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47091523)

which is irrelevant because 90% of a car's energy use over its lifetime is its fuel use.
with a Prius that percentage is lower, as it takes more energy to construct, and uses less energy to use.

provided you drive it enough, its total lifetime energy use is still lower, despite the higher initial costs.

Re:taxes will lead to kludges (1)

Justpin (2974855) | about 5 months ago | (#47091315)

The Prius is actually a confidence trick. I know taxi drivers who get about the same MPG as they did in their old Toyota corollas, while being considerably less pleasant to drive as the prius is hypermilled with a thin skin and very little sound insulation.

Re:taxes will lead to kludges (2)

MightyYar (622222) | about 5 months ago | (#47091617)

I'm suspicious of the Prius simply because they don't offer a non-hybrid version. The aerodynamics shape and narrow tires seem well-suited to fuel economy no matter what the engine. The hybrid Camry is an economic non-starter for my use case.

Re:taxes will lead to kludges (1)

Bertie (87778) | about 5 months ago | (#47091669)

Pretty much, yeah. Toyota designed an Atkinson cycle engine, which is much more efficient than the traditional Otto cycle. The problem is that it doesn't produce much torque, meaning that it doesn't take off as quickly as people would like. So they added an electric booster to make up the torque shortfall. The fuel savings from running on battery are minimal - the internal combustion engine usually kicks in within seconds of setting off, and stays on unless coasting. Conventional cars don't use fuel when coasting anyway, so you don't save anything there, and in fact lose a bit into recharging the batteries.

Lower? (2)

countach (534280) | about 5 months ago | (#47091271)

Usually I think of lower figures as better. Especially in the UK with litres / 100km.

Re:Lower? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47091319)

saying "higher consumption" would certainly have been clearer. Here in NL we use a mix of km / l and l / 100km.

Re:Lower? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47091337)

mpg is "miles per gallon" -- lower is bad.

(also, I've never seen anyone actually use L/100km in the UK.... yes it's a standard but when you measure distances in miles on the road, it's a leap to far for most people to turn that into km for any measurement. I've rarely ever been able to get people to talk about fuel economy in the UK and I suspect this is in part due to the inability to informally measure fuel economy / fuel consumption because of the half-arsed conversion to the metric system)

Re:Lower? (1)

Justpin (2974855) | about 5 months ago | (#47091379)

Except the Yanks have smaller gallons 3.78 litres vs 4,54litres. While a UK and Yank litre is the same 1000ml/cc

Re:Lower? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47091995)

I take offense to the comment that we yanks have smaller... oh wait you said gallons. That's ok.

This is not new news (3, Insightful)

knightar (3440261) | about 5 months ago | (#47091275)

We all knew from previous reports, even in the US, that car manufactures will cheat and use "perfect conditions" and also gut the car of anything they can get rid of to decrease the weight and increase the MPG. Why are governments not requiring actual roadway numbers with an actual car as it comes out of the lot? Because lobbyists from the car manufacturers prevented it; Ether way I've always looked at the MPG and subtracted 20% from it.

watch the program on 5th gear (4, Interesting)

lkcl (517947) | about 5 months ago | (#47091277)

before making *any* judgement you *need* to watch the program on 5th gear which covers exactly this question in some detail. basically the test was designed originally for people driving sensibly, and it was designed i think well over 20 possibly even 30 years ago. so it has a very *very* gentle acceleration and deceleration curve. gentle acceleration because that is not only fuel-efficient but also the cars of that time simply could not accelerate that much, and gentle braking because again that is more fuel-efficient but also because if you had drum brakes they would overheat.

people no longer drive sensibly: they are more aggressive with other drivers (not keeping a safe distance), they put their foot down hard on the accelerator and they put their foot down hard on the brake. also as the cars are more reliable they tend to not maintain them properly: until i watched another program on 5th gear about how badly old oil affects fuel economy and the lifetime of the engine i had absolutely no intention of changing oil regularly in the decade-year-old cars i buy.

so, in effect, people should stop complaining and start driving in more fuel-efficient ways... *regardless* of how aggressive the person behind them gets when they set off from the lights at the same acceleration rate as a 40 tonne cargo lorry. that's the other person's problem.

Re:watch the program on 5th gear (5, Funny)

rolfwind (528248) | about 5 months ago | (#47091387)

and it was designed i think well over 20 possibly even 30 years ago. so it has a very *very* gentle acceleration and deceleration curve. gentle acceleration because that is not only fuel-efficient but also the cars of that time simply could not accelerate that much...

WTF are you blabbering on about? Cars from 1980 or 1990 could not accelerate that much?

You must be a young kid or something, but not everything before your time was primitive by virtue of you not having come along yet.

Re:watch the program on 5th gear (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47091539)

He should watch the documentary "Grease" to see how people drove back in ye olden days :D

Re:watch the program on 5th gear (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47091573)

Since 1960, yearly traffic deaths have gone from 8000 down to about 2000 currently.

You make some wild assumptions, but the figures suggest people are driving less reckless then before.

Re:watch the program on 5th gear (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47091621)

or perhaps cars are that much safer?

Re:watch the program on 5th gear (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 5 months ago | (#47091631)

That's a tough correlation to make. Cars and roads are also safer now, and lifesaving techniques have improved.

Re: watch the program on 5th gear (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47091677)

Wtf, what country? The us kills 30,000+ a year in cars, mow down 4000 peds, and take out 600 cyclists. Every year.

Re: watch the program on 5th gear (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47091737)

Article is about the UK so I used UK data.

Re:watch the program on 5th gear (1)

Captain_Chaos (103843) | about 5 months ago | (#47091885)

people no longer drive sensibly

[citation needed]

Re:watch the program on 5th gear (2)

Captain_Chaos (103843) | about 5 months ago | (#47091903)

people no longer drive sensibly: they are more aggressive with other drivers (not keeping a safe distance)

Is that why traffic deaths have consistently gone down since 20 or 30 years ago? - Killed_on_British_Roads.png [wikipedia.org]

As a trend (2)

Justpin (2974855) | about 5 months ago | (#47091279)

Since petrol went up to £1.36 a litre (thats $2.30) MPG has increased and actual fuel used has fallen partly due to people driving a whole load less. Back in 1999 driving to work in exactly the same town, took 35 minutes to get through one particular section. Today it takes 10 as there are fewer cars. However this is not in the best interests of the government! which is why the EU are mandating ET phone home systems in all cars from 2015 which allow you to monitor and track a car in motion acceleration and deceleration. The Labour government want to introduce a pay per mile system precisely because revenue from fuel taxes have fallen due to more efficient cars. Heh I've moved down from a 929cc missile down to a more sensible 650cc with 1/3 of the horse power..

Re:As a trend (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47091353)

I call bullshit on the 'phone home system' that th EU mandates per 2015.

Re:As a trend (1)

Justpin (2974855) | about 5 months ago | (#47091391)

It's called eCall. It is mandated from October 2015 for new cars and vans. It can transmit GPS data and acceleration and deceleration and airbag deployment to the emergency services. http://www.europarl.europa.eu/... [europa.eu] Everybody knows that there will be mission creep for this system, like a justification for the EU GPS competitor and that shortly afterwards there will be laws to retrofit them to current vehicles.

Re:As a trend (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47091397)

I think he means: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ECall [wikipedia.org]

Which is an automated emergency call system in case of an accident.

Technically it does allow for the monitoring acceleration and deceleration, but cars tend to have this stuff already anyway, if only for the airbag controller.

Re:As a trend (1)

Viol8 (599362) | about 5 months ago | (#47091359)

>Heh I've moved down from a 929cc missile down to a more sensible 650cc with 1/3 of the horse power..

I assume you're talking about a motorbike?

Even a "sensible" 650cc bike will leave almost all cars apart from high end supercars for dead at the lights so on a day to day commute I doubt you'll notice much difference :o)

Re:As a trend (2)

Geeky (90998) | about 5 months ago | (#47091361)

The other thing that's changed is the way people drive on motorways. When I was first driving, back in the early 90s, you could sit on the motorway at 80mph (for those outside the UK, that's a little above the legal limit of 70) and be overtaken by a steady stream of ton-up drivers. The outside lane was a hazard and you'd need a huge gap to overtake and still have frustrated drivers getting right up your arse.

It still happens to an extent, but it does seem that the average speed has dropped. I see far fewer cars driving at 90 and up. OK, that's partly due to the increase in speed cameras, but I reckon fuel economy plays a part. There are more people seemingly content to sit below the limit, at about 60, and that was very much a rarity 20 years ago outside of the elderly cloth cap brigade.

Just like pints. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47091309)

There's a similar type of campaign that's been running for years to try and force pubs to serve a full pint, rather than including the head as part of it, either by serving no head (damn near impossible) or by using an oversized, lined glass so the head is on top of the fluid pint.

The problem with both issues is that while people may feel they're getting a better deal they're just going to end up paying more. If pubs have to change all their glassware and serve a little head for free then they'll just take that into account at the next price review, and likewise, if we force manufacturers to scrap their (government mandated, calibrated and already "accurate") rolling road systems in exchange for something far more expensive then we'll just see car prices go up.

We already know that advertised MPGs are not the real world figure, they're just for comparison between different vehicles. Personally I treat mine ("46mpg") as a perfect world figure, one full of frictionless spherical chickens, and if I get anywhere near it (usually ~43mpg) I know that both my car and my driving are at the efficient end of the scale.

Re:Just like pints. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47091369)

I'd pay a hell of a lot more for a pint if I got free head!

Re:Just like pints. (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 5 months ago | (#47091571)

The problem with the full pints campaign was that it introduced bigger glasses with a pint line a bit from the top, and people felt ripped off if the beer plus the head didn't go all of the way to the top of the glass. A number of surveys showed that people thought that they got more beer when they got a smaller glass that was completely full than a slightly larger one with a small gap at the top.

Re:Just like pints. (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | about 5 months ago | (#47091765)

There's already a rule about the size of the head but as usual it vaguely defined. As I remember it, "the head may not form a substantial part of the pint". This isn't helped by the fact that some drinks, e.g. lagers and ciders generally don't have much of a head at all, while others such as Guinness are expected to have a comparatively deep one.

The only way you're likely to get a landlord to top off your drink is if a) they're obviously taking the piss and b) you're not the only one at the bar. Having your punters see you fleece a customer is bad for business.

I dissagree ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47091375)

I can reach the manufacturers figures if I follow the same speed profile as the test. That implies very slow accelerations, 0-40mph in 40 seconds, and low maximum speeds.
I can easily reach the 65mpg in a MW run if I limit the speed to 50mph (the average speed of the "official" extra urban test is just below 40mph).

The "official" test are useful to COMPARE cars and should not be taken as indicators of the real consumption. Every day consumption strongly depends firstly on the acceleration and secondly on the speed (as any cyclist would testify : ) ). The difference between "official" and real life values is smaller for low powered cars and larger for sporty ones. This is mainly due to the heavy foot syndrome, heavy on the accelerator and heavy on the break.

As a reference i'm including the description of the extra urban driving cycle,

The EUDC (Extra Urban Driving Cycle), introduced by ECE R101 in 1990, has been designed to represent more aggressive, high speed driving modes. The maximum speed of the EUDC cycle is 120 km/h; low-powered vehicles are limited to 90 km/h.

After a 20 s stop - if equipped with manual gearbox, in the 1st gear with clutch disengaged - the car slowly accelerates to 70 km/h in 41 s (manual: 5 s, 9 s, 8 s and 13 s in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th gears, with additional 3 Ãf-- 2 s for gear changes), cruises for 50 s (manual: in the 5th gear [sic]), decelerates to 50 km/h in 8 s (manual: 4 s in the 5th and 4 s in the 4th gear [sic]) and cruises for 69 s, then slowly accelerates to 70 km/h in 13 s .
At 201 s, the car cruises at 70 km/h for 50 s (manual: in the 5th gear), then slowly accelerates to 100 km/h in 35 s and cruises for 30 s (manual: in the 5th or 6th gear).
Finally, at 316 s the car slowly accelerates to 120 km/h in 20 s, cruises for 10 s, then slowly brakes to a full stop in 34 s (manual: in the 5th or 6th gear, lat 10 s with clutch disengaged), and idles for another 20 s (manual: in neutral).
Total duration is 400 s and theoretical distance is 6956 meters, with an average speed of 62.6 km/h (38.9 m/h).

Re:I dissagree ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47091837)

Ok, that explains why I sometimes get better values. WTF are they doing driving in the 1st gear for 5(!!) seconds? 1s is the absolute max you should need. And 2s switching gears? Also, most of the time there is just no point in using the 4th gear at all.

> then slowly brakes to a full stop in 34 s (manual: in the 5th or 6th gear, lat 10 s with clutch disengaged)

What idiotic driving style is that? You wouldn't disengage the cludge but instead switch to a lower gear, so that the engine will not use any gas but instead will be kept going by the car's energy.
If people get 40% over that they must either be driving under very special circumstances or they are really incompetent at it and really, really need to take a course or otherwise get a clue.

Comparisons with electric range (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47091409)

Does this also mean that the range comparisons with electric cars are likely to be less valid? They'd be undergoing the same test, but I'm assuming the differences in how they work would make them both have their ranges change under this apparently more accurate one.

It's just the way they're tested. (1)

Apotekaren (904220) | about 5 months ago | (#47091411)

The testing standards for the EU fuel consumption numbers are very strict and stringent and have never actually stated that you'll be able to reach these figures yourself. The cars are tested indoors, and are not in any way subject to real world conditions during this test. It's just a tool to standardize the way the cars are tested so as to give the consumer a clue when comparing different cars.
Because of course the car manufacturers are going to game the system by not only "cheating" with taping, over-inflated tires and such like mentioned in earlier posts, but also building cars in a way which makes them more optimal for this test.
The test itself includes both a urban-cycle and a non-urban cycle, which are then combined for an EU-average. The scores for all three measures are then stated by the dealership and as I said, they are mostly for comparing between cars and not estimating any real world consumption, because that would be almost impossible to do because of varying temperatures, road surfaces, drivers.... The list is long.

Re:It's just the way they're tested. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47091561)

In Australia, a similar issues.
As a 3rd world country, we have 3 petrol 'grades', so the first cheat is using super premium.
Off come the side mirrors, and test car can be taped up, and one presumes a miniature driver build like a anorexic jockey.
Can't remember is a spare tyre is required or not. Yeah, no honesty here. If you think that's bad, you should see our food labeling laws with false/deceptive country of origin.
I believe the test origin may be USA designed, as large heavy gas guzzlers do a lot better with a low stop/start cycle, say relative to a small, light Getz. Makes sense to rig the test to keep locally produced cars looking better than they are.

Might be true, but WhatCar can suck my arse (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47091417)

It's probably true, but I wouldn't get a subscription.

I've worked for WhatCar, and they refuse to pay their contractors on time.
After threatening court action they finally paid.

I understand they did exactly the same to the previous developer, and they're doing exactly the same to the next one too.

All relatively the same (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | about 5 months ago | (#47091505)

economy figures that are on average 19% lower than the government figures

So long as ALL the official figures are equally inaccurate, the ranking still feeds into the choice of which cars are the more fuel-efficient and which are less so.

Therefore it makes little difference whether the figures are exactly what one would expect (though nobody is ever that naive) or out by a factor of two. You'd still expect that the little runabout with a 80 MPG "official" figure would be cheaper to keep topped up than an 30 MPG gas-guzzler.

As it is, few people take much notice of figures: official or not. It plays a small part in the overall choice (somewhere below what colour the car is) and is only part of the overall consideration of running costs + servicing costs.

Obvious explanation (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 5 months ago | (#47091507)

Apparently, there is an English proverb saying "if it moves, tax it". So it seems that the government has seen the cars move, and taxed them. 19%? That a tax-like number indeed!

Re:Obvious explanation (2)

newcastlejon (1483695) | about 5 months ago | (#47091777)

Also inheritance tax, a.k.a. "when it stops moving, tax it".

rules (1)

kqc7011 (525426) | about 5 months ago | (#47091527)

The manufacturers are following the rules that the governments set. It is not the manufacturers fault if they get different results then what the customers get. If you ran your car on the same loop the same way that the manufacturers do you would get right around the milage that they do. Of course they are gaming the system, but they are taking advantage of every little thing that they can. Me, I get quite a bit more MPG than listed on my motorcycle and a little less in the car. But in the winter the cars milage drops way below what is listed especially around town.

Re:rules (2)

cmdr_tofu (826352) | about 5 months ago | (#47091611)

When my car had a bad thermostat the mileage (and power) of the car dropped significantly. This was during the winter. After replacing the thermostat, efficiency and power were back up!

Big News -- Not! (0)

Anna Merikin (529843) | about 5 months ago | (#47091529)

I am old enough to remember the "horsepower wars" of the '50s and 60s in the US. Inflation was rampant then as now.

So, what's new? It's not as if the governments know what they're doing, or their informational data is correct and unpoliticized....

Isn't this true in North America as well? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 5 months ago | (#47091569)

Isn't MPG based on an out-dated formula which everyone knows is wrong?

I also thought all the people who bought hybrids were annoyed to discover their actual mileage was nowhere near accurate, all because you're required by law to use the EPA formula which is essentially useless. I even seem to remember some people wanted to sue the car makers for using misleading numbers, but since they can only report the numbers one way, it's not something that can honestly report.

Sounds like it's time for someone to come up with a valid set of tests and numbers, because the ones we're using are clearly not based in reality.

The big question, is why have we been using an outdated formula which gives incorrect values when we know it? Who benefits from that? Is it lazy governments, or are is someone benefiting from this?

TASTE THE MEAT and the HEAT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47091575)

i tell you what - huh, huh!

All I know is that the cars I want to drive (1)

mark_reh (2015546) | about 5 months ago | (#47091579)

are not the ones that get the highest mileage ratings. Cars are not just transportation. Some people actually get pleasure out of driving, and some cars are definitely more pleasurable to drive than others. The ones that are most pleasurable, be they high end luxury sedans with all the comforts of your living room, or high performance sports car, get lousy fuel economy. That's the way it has always been and with the exception of electric sports cars, the way it's going to be for a long time to come.

Look at hybrid luxury sedans and SUVs. The advertising demonstrates that the hybrid stuff was added to improve performance and only slightly boosts fuel economy. People who buy those vehicles don't care about fuel economy because the cost of fuel is inconsequential to them. They care about performance and like the idea of being able to feel "green" as they drive their 2 ton SUV as if it were a Ferrari.

I believe that the human contribution to global warming is already tipped the balance so far that we won't recover from it. In another 200 years this planet is going to be a dessert. In the mean time, I want to get a Hummer. Not one of the tiny H3s that were made for girly-men who were worried about parking and fuel economy. I want one of the original beasts that could support rocket launchers. Then I want to convert it to burn coal, or better yet, lignite. I want to leave a sooty, greasy black trail everywhere I go that is visible from space. That will be my mark on history, my signature on this dying planet. THAT'S luxury driving!

Everyone already knew that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47091587)

It has been tested time and time again by infinite numbers of auto magazines and consumer protection groups. Everyone in the world knows that the manufacturer numbers are complete bullshit.

my anecdotal evidence differs (1)

cmdr_tofu (826352) | about 5 months ago | (#47091607)

Of course I'm not in the UK (even if I was wouldn't i be concerned with km/litre instead of m/g?) Anyhoo I drive a 2003 VW Jetta Wagon TDI (manual transmission) and according to fueleconomy.gov (http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/Find.do?action=sbs&id=18793), the car gets 35 mpg city 45 mpg (avg 39) highway. From my experience it never gets less than 50mpg on highways (close to 60 driving between CT and NH), but now that I live in the city, with traffic jams, waiting several light changes in queues to make a turn, etc, I'm consistently stuck in the 40s.

This is different than fueleconomy's original rating of my car 42 city/50 (avg 45) hwy. http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg... [fueleconomy.gov]

Based on feedback from a small number drivers my car gets an average 48.3 mpg (with some reporting as high as 62mpg). So I have no clue why new EPA estimates are considered "more realistic" although they claim make their claims here: http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg... [fueleconomy.gov]
My suspicion is that it's just a way to make newer cars (which aren't as good in terms of economy), look better relative to old cars which are more affordable.

Re:my anecdotal evidence differs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47091881)

My Toyota Aygo claims 65mpg for 'motorway' driving. I used to regularly get that when I drove 30 odd miles a day on the motorway - at a steady 55mph! Was passed by everything.

So I think these figures are acheivable if you don't let your ego drive the car.

Effect on American Market?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47091753)

One of the problems this is creating is that we have do good politicians asking why American Market Cars aren't getting the fuel efficiency of European Cars... Well, they aren't the same measurement, the EPA does the testing the USA while several independent labs do the tests in Europe. Since the labs are paid by the Car companies they compete with each other to find new creative ways to stretch the MPG of cars while still certifying the cars. It's a miracle some labs don't just out right lie about the cars fuel economy.

It would be nice if the EPA and European Union could create a single standard for gas mileage...

True MPG does not matter; true relative does (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 5 months ago | (#47091971)

Seriously, what matters is the relative MPG. The fact is, that the owners driving conditions will change the true MPG.
BUT, knowing that something is rated at say 30 MPG vs. 40 MPG using the same car that I would buy (i.e. nothing rigged by the makers), will make a difference.

Of course, a number of us are moving from MPG to MPC (miles per charge).
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