When shopping for a new car, most people research different models and take into consideration the posted MPG ratings of each vehicle. The mileage ratings listed on window stickers and in advertisements are known as EPA averages, because they are based on a testing method developed by the Environmental Protection Agency.
But how accurate are those ratings? Many drivers find that their real-world fuel economy can be considerably different — and quite often lower — than what was advertised. In fact, two automakers are compensating owners of their cars because of exaggerated fuel-economy ratings.
Why the differences between the official mileage figures and real-world fuel economy? There are many reasons why your mileage can vary:
- The EPA does not actually determine the EPA averages. Instead, each auto manufacturer does its own testing, following the EPA’s procedures.
- The testing procedures do not necessarily match how people drive. If you are an aggressive or fast driver, you will use more fuel per mile.
- The combined EPA averages are based on 55 percent city driving and 45 percent highway driving. If you drive in the city more than that — or sit in heavy traffic on the highway — your average mileage will be lower.
- The EPA tests use ethanol-free gasoline, but most gas sold today contains about 10 percent ethanol. That ethanol content lowers fuel economy by roughly 2 percent.
- Your location can affect mileage, because a hot climate and hilly terrain can lower fuel economy.
So how can you compare the real-world mileage of different models? The U.S. Department of Energy has set up a fuel economy website at www.fueleconomy.gov. The fuel-economy website allows drivers to report the true mileage they get from their vehicles. You can then browse these real-life averages on the website’s list of makes and models.
If your current vehicle does not get the mileage you are looking for, and you would like to save money by leasing a more fuel-efficient vehicle, contact us at Swapalease. We’ll be happy to help you find the car that puts you miles ahead when it comes to fuel savings.
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