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Do You Believe Car Manufacturers Figures?

When searching for a car to buy, we look at the manufacturers figures stated like 0-60 times, power (bhp) and miles per gallon (mpg). We then believe that we know exactly what we are looking at and then make an educated decision to buy that certain car. After doing all the research and buying the car, we have it for a few weeks and with some vehicles, many people realise that the manufacturers’ figures are disappointingly incorrect.

However, there is another source for research which doesn’t involve trusting the manufacturers own figures. To ensure that you have a better idea of the miles per gallon figures that real people are finding, each time they fill up their petrol or diesel tank, you can go to and search for your car. The data from Fuelly is generated by individuals, each time they fill up, they will take note of how many miles they have driven and how many litres of fuel they have used since they last filled up! Combining the figures of hundreds of drivers using the same car results in an accurate average mpg figure. Each year of the model will have its own average which helps in ensuring you are looking at the correct model.

Once you have bought your new car, help the community and statistics become more accurate by signing up for a free account and entering your own car figures!

Tip: *When using Fuelly, make sure you select the correct location US / UK units (in the top left of the website) as the mpg figures do differ and this is easy to miss!

My Case Study Example

I stumbled across this website after writing a different blog article where I researched the most fuel efficient cars. I based my original article on manufacturers given figures. While writing this article I also personally looked into which car would be an ideal upgrade so that I could spend less on fuel. I had decided that the BMW 120d was a good choice with manufacturers figures of a combined (average) 49.6 mpg while still performing a 0-60 time of 7.9 seconds. So before jumping straight into a purchase I looked online at some BMW forums online where people were actually complaining about BMW’s false figures. A number of owners were only getting an average of 37 mpg for the suggested driving methods (being combined town and motorway) and even when they were driving mainly motorway miles they could still not reach the ~50 mpg mark. Owners were so concerned, they even thought there were problems with their cars which resulted in them paying for replacement parts which they did not necessarily need.

Using Fuelly I can see that most owners are averaging 42 mpg (figure correct as of 03/02/2014 for model years 2004 – 2006). In this case this could mean you spend £272.88 more per year on diesel (when averaging 12,000 miles per year with today’s average cost of diesel being 137.11 pence per litre). That’s 15% more than you expected on average if you had trusted the manufacturers’ figures.

So remember, even though you should be able to, do not trust the manufacturers figures. Maybe something should be done to ensure the manufacturers’ figures are more accurate? I’m sure many people have felt like they have been mis-sold a car.

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