While automakers are getting sued for misleading fuel consumption numbers, you have to stop and consider there may be a fine line between estimating the best case scenario and blatant lies about what you can expect at the gas pumps. While Hyundai faces court time over misrepresenting the fuel economy for the Hyundai Elantra. Honda Civic was recently under the gun for the same thing. But there needs to be a healthy discernment over what truth is and what a lie is. Apparently it boils down to the disclaimer that “Your mileage may vary”.
The reason for this variant in fuel ratings isn’t due to inaptitude; it is because of the variety of driving conditions and what you are packing in your vehicle. You also have to consider what speeds you are driving at, how much stop and start action is going on, tire pressure, and even your own weight plays a significant part of what your fuel economy ratings will end up being for your unique driving experiences.
So of course we still all want to know what is reasonable to expect for a car to give us in regard to gas mileage, but we also still need to take into consideration that our driving conditions are going to be different than test conditions used to get this number. Perhaps the EPA should use heavier testers that fill the car with kids and groceries decrease the tire pressure and drive through the city during rush hour and then tell us what those ratings turn out to be.
In the meantime, drivers will have to realize that while the sticker in the window telling us what to expect for city, highway and combined miles per gallon is more of an estimate than a fact. The truth will be in our own driving practices. If we want the best bang for our fuel bucks, we’ll lighten the load, keep the tires in check and opt for highway miles over city miles when possible.