Car makers over-estimate fuel economy - but many motorists drive up bills
A NUMBER of reports highlight how much automakers are over-estimating the fuel economy of their cars.
And a number of others are being cited to show how motorists are shooting themselves in the foot by the way they drive.
Figures from consumer watchdog Which? show the gap between 'claimed' and 'real' can be as much as 20mpg (32kms/gallon).
Fuel economy figures for more than 100 petrol and diesel cars tested at the Which? lab were compared with official statistics used by car manufacturers. The latter are based on official EU-regulated tests.
The comparison reveals that diesels have the biggest gap between real and claimed; petrols are not as bad.
A major online survey also showed people no longer accept the figures.
It found that 54pc of drivers don't believe them. Of the 20,000 who took part in the eco-survey by WeLoveAnyCar.com, only 20pc thought they were reliable.
Several surveys have found that fuel economy is the key factor in the choice of car for many people. Drivers, therefore, are entitled to feel aggrieved when their cars fail to live up to their mpg expectations.
The current EU system to determine these figures is being criticised and talks are under way for new and more 'realistic' tests.
However, it is clear that many motorists are costing themselves a lot of money in how they drive.
They can dispute the figures claimed by carmakers but they can bridge the gap significantly too by making a few simple adjustments.
And that appears to apply especially to men. Women are more economical drivers.
For example, the recent Intelligent Transport Systems congress held in Dublin found 'men on average have higher acceleration patterns with higher fuel use and emissions as compared to women'.