83% of owners complain of poor fuel consumption

A poll of 2,000 owners by Motorpoint shows that hardly anyone is satisfied with the fuel consumption they are achieving in comparison to the claims made in the official fuel consumption figures.

Says David Shelton, Motorpoint Managing Director: "As fuel prices continue to soar, fuel efficiency is becoming a more important factor in the choice of people's next vehicle. Our poll shows how important it is that motorists get accurate MPG figures from their cars. Over 2,000 votes clearly show that consumers feel strongly about this issue."
He blamed car manufacturers, but that is kind of missing the point. Car manufacturers don't make mpg claims: they submit their cars to the EU who test them and then publish the results. It may not come as a total surprise that the tests – as car manufacturer engineers will privately admit – are garbage. The rates of acceleration on the tests are so slow that a typical small hatchback needs to generate no more than 10 bhp for most of the test. That means the test is basically measuring how economical a car engine is when idling and when cruising steadily.

The tests are about 20% out in general. That would not be so bad if all cars were equal: you could just take away 20% from all official figures. However, the tests for some cars are actively misleading. Plug-in hybrids only engage their engines for half the test, so for 50% of the time, official fuel consumption is actually zero. The resulting fuel consumption figures are predictably spectacular, but may be very, very hard to replicate in the real world.

Don't worry, though: the EU says it will review the tests to make them more realistic. And when is the new test expected to come into force? 2020 is the anticipated date. So eight years to do a job that would take, ooh, twelve months maximum for any half-decent organisation. Still why hurry? The longer it takes, the more people they can employ.

What are your experiences of the fuel consumption issue? Tell us below.
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