Smallest cars ‘worse for fuel economy’ –

Posted: Wednesday, October 08, 2014

The discrepancy between manufacturers’ claims and the road data was especially
stark for vehicles with smaller engines, which generally have to work harder
to accelerate.

Tests showed that vehicles with an engine size up to one litre had an average
advertised 60.3mpg, but consumption was measured at 38.6mpg in tests, a drop
of 36 per cent.

Average consumption for cars with one to two-litre engines was measured at
46.7mpg, 21 per cent lower than the advertised 59.1mpg. This meant they
travelled further on the same amount of fuel than the average smaller car.

Models with two to three-litre engines had an average test result of 45mpg,
which was 15 per cent below their advertised average of 52.9mpg.

Performance models with larger engines delivered worse fuel economy, but the
test results were closer to manufacturers’ estimates.

“For maximum fuel economy you should look for a one to three-litre engine, as
these will return around 45-46mpg,” Emissions Analytics reported in a

“And to avoid being too disappointed with the result, pick a two to
three-litre vehicle as it will be only 15 per cent worse than you were told
you could achieve.”

Nick Molden, the business’s founder, said the wide difference between
manufacturers’ miles per gallon figures and those measured on the road was
down to flaws in official testing regimes which involve low rates of
acceleration and gentle speeds.

“The problem at the moment is how official tests are leading people to
outcomes that are not helping the environment,” he said.

“Where people buy engines that are below one litre, you are getting worse fuel
economy, therefore you are getting worse CO2 and you may also be getting
more nitrogen dioxide, and that’s not what is intended by the regulations.”

Prof Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “These
astonishing figures only fuel the debate on the worth of official mpg data.
Well over two million new cars will be sold in the UK this year, with small
vehicles topping the sales chart. But how many drivers will actually get
what they think they have paid for? The answer, in terms of fuel efficiency,
must be not many.”


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