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Modern thinking is to buy a car that does a high volume of MPG (miles per gallon) creating as much fuel economy as possible. With extremely high fuel prices is there any wonder motorists want significantly cheaper cars to run. Fuel is now verging over £1.40 per litre and as a result we have no choice, but to think differently when buying cars. However, disappointingly the manufacturer's mpg fuel economy declaration may not be the whole truth.

The truth behind car manufacturers mpg fuel assertion

It is not uncommon these days to find a car that states it can run 65 mpg plus. Long distance drivers or sales representatives are in their element when car manufacturers suggest they can save money on fuel by buying a particular car. The reality is our cars are not performing as stated in the manufacturer's handbook.

The truth is the mpg fuel economy is not as economic after all; cars are running close to 15 - 20 mpg less. Should fuel prices increase then motorists will ultimately be at a major loss. When car's run close to 20 mpg less than they ought to, it equates to hundreds of pounds per annum. Long term, motorists could lose thousands of pounds.

Should we put up with manufacturers over exaggerated mpg fuel economy statements? It is not a case that your car might or it could; the fact is it will lose you money on fuel in the long run. The truth is when a manufacturer is testing the vehicles their own roads which are very flat and not road tyres that are standard. These tyres can be low resistance tyres, and therefore help the vehicle to get more out of the fuel than a standard car being driven on normal everyday roads.

Manufacturer's mpg fuel tests

All tests for Urban, Extra-Urban and Combined are performed in a factory. To figure out the mpg fuel economy, cars must be placed on a rolling board. They will endure a series of tests such as accelerating, decelerating, steady speeds, idling, slowing down and much more.

Once the Urban and Extra-Urban mpg fuel economy has been determined, then the combined stats can be averaged. This is all theoretical not practical; it does not include the aerodynamics, hilly roads, taking corners, bumpy roads, outside temperature fluctuations and more.

What's more, when the tests are being performed in the factory, all the electrics are switched off. Additionally, tests are carried out on cars using meagre distances. Allegedly, cars are tested for 2.5 miles runs for urban, and 4.3 for extra-urban.

It really can be quite deceiving that your new car could return 15-20 mpg less than stated. There is no particular manufacturer to blame; they are all flirting with optimistic claims.

Calculate your own mpg test

If you want to know exactly how many miles to the gallon your car does, you can test this yourself and see whether it matches your computer reading. Here’s how; fill up your fuel tank to the top, drive for 30 miles, stop and fill up again. How much money did you have to put back in to fill up and pay for the 30 miles? Then how much fuel did you put back measured in gallons? You can now calculate the cost per gallon to drive the 30 miles.

Clamp down has begun

Recent changes are trying to ensure the manufacturer’s mpg fuel economy figures are not off the wall, but genuine. They are committed to abide by the New European Driving Cycle, which is known as NEDC. Cars now have to go through rigorous tests to produce the mpg fuel economy figures.

Electrics, driving distances and road conditions can all add massive ratios to the mpg fuel economy on a car. Is there any wonder that motorists are feeling conned?