Why Are You Getting Worse MPG Than Your Car Should Be Delivering?

For many of us now, mile per gallon has become the most searched statistic when it comes to people looking for a car. It isn’t about 0-60 mph or top speed anymore. It is all about how much mpg your car can deliver when it hits the road.

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Car manufacturers are constantly looking for ways of improving their cars’ mpg output to ensure that you get better value for money at the pump. However, there is an issue concerning the statistics publicised by the car manufacturers concerning their cars.

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How is mpg calculated?

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Miles per gallon measures the distance a car can travel on one gallon (4.44 litres) of fuel. The further the car can travel on the gallon, the more efficient it is. This measurement allows you to compare efficiency between rivals. This measurement is affected by driving at high speeds or moving in heavy traffic.

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MPG is calculated in Europe through the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC). With this test, you will be presented with four figures. These figures are:

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  • Urban fuel economy, which simulates city driving
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  • Extra-urban fuel economy which simulates motorway journeys
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  • Combined fuel economy which is the balance between the Urban and the Extra-urban economies
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  • Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions, which is measured in g/km
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To get these results, all cars are tested in lab conditions in air temperatures between 20-30 degrees Celsius. All car engines must be started from cold to get the fairest comparison between vehicles. This is why the statistics result from simulated environments rather than real world driving experience.

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What is the Urban cycle?

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The Urban cycle is simulated to mimic town or city driving. This involved accelerating and deaccelerating slowly up to speeds of 9, 15 and 20 mph respectively. This procedure is repeated for 780 seconds. The car will have been driven for approximately 2.8 miles in the simulated environment. This is to give a sense of how you would drive in towns and cities.

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What is the Extra-urban cycle

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This cycle simulated driving on country roads and motorways. For this, the car gently accelerates to 43 mph. It follows that by maintaining that speed for 50 seconds before dropping down to 30 mph for 60 seconds before returning to 43 mph. Following a further 50 seconds, the car must accelerate to 60 mph in 35 seconds. It must briefly hit 70 mph for 10 seconds and then come to a complete stop.

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What is the Combined cycle?

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The Combined cycle is calculated as the fuel consumption during both the Urban and Extra-urban tests.

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Are the mpg statistics reliable?

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Most of you will be aware that despite what the mpg stats are when you first acquire the car