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Just 10% of cars hits advertised MPG, reveals new research

Just 10% of cars hits advertised MPG, reveals new research

The gap between advertised and on-the-road MPG is now at its widest ever point, with just one in ten cars managing to hit their official fuel economy figures, according to new data from HonestJohn.co.uk.

The consumer-led motoring website analysed 118,000 ‘real’ MPG fuel reports, submitted by UK drivers, and found that an average car now used 24% more fuel than it should.  

The BMW X5 was the UK’s worst performing car for ‘real’ MPG, achieving 66.9% of its advertised fuel economy, according to the study. It was followed by the Land Rover Discovery Sport and Audi A4 with a respective 67.5% and 68.3%. The Volvo XC90 (68.5%) and Fiat 500X (69.6%) completed the bottom five cars on sale for real world economy.  

At the opposite end of the scale the latest Mazda MX-5 was the UK’s best ‘real’ MPG performer, with an average of 101.5%, according to the study. In second place was the Toyota Verso (99.5% ) followed closely by the GT86, with a real world fuel economy of 98.4%. The final entries in the top five were the Subaru Forester (97.1%) and Peugeot Partner Tepee (92.9%).  

‘Real’ MPG was launched in 2011 after HonestJohn.co.uk received thousands of complaints from readers that their cars could not match ‘official’ fuel economy figures.  

Published at www.HonestJohn.co.uk/realmpg, ‘Real’ MPG invites motorists to submit how many miles their cars actually do to the gallon, covering all major makes and models. Unlike official (laboratory tested) fuel consumption figures, ‘Real’ MPG gives real life comparative data and allows car owners and buyers to see how much on-the-road fuel a vehicle really uses.

One of the reasons new cars have performed increasingly poorly is because, since 2015, car manufacturers have been fined if the corporate average CO2 emissions of their cars exceeds 130g/km, according to MPG and CO2 laboratory tests. To avoid the fines, vehicles are increasingly optimised for the laboratory test at the expense of reality.  

From September 2017, the current NEDC (New European Driving Cycle) test for new cars will be replaced with the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP).  

However, while the WLTP should be more reflective of real world driving conditions and involve longer distances and higher speeds, it will still be laboratory-based.  

Honest John’s managing editor Daniel Powell said: “‘Real’ MPG has shown that, for the majority of drivers, advertised fuel economy figures are quite simply too good to be true. As a result, many are finding it increasingly difficult to understand how much fuel a car will use or how polluting it will be.  

“We welcome the introduction of the new WLT, but it remains to be seen if this new laboratory-based test will provide the realistic figures that the public have been crying out for - there’s clearly a need for change in the way that MPG is measured, as the real world figures don’t reflect those of laboratories.”