To help drivers decide which car to buy next, manufacturers publish fuel consumption figures for their latest models to help make those tough decisions about fuel economy.
To arrive at the figures they quote, car makers test their new vehicles under strict lab conditions; compiling and calculating under the harsh white glow of the fluorescent lights. However, in the real world of traffic jams, uphill battles and downhill slides these figures might not represent the full story of what makes a fuel-conscious car.
The MPG Marathon is an annual event now in its 12th year which aims to prove or disprove the figures set out by manufacturers, while simultaneously showing consumers what they really can achieve by driving smarter, no matter what car they drive.
Based over 370 miles in various weather conditions and tricky routes around South Wales and the Cotswolds, the MPG Marathon is a two-day event held last week for all kinds of vehicles – from healthy hybrids to gas-guzzling vans. Competitors were tracked around the full course so as to ensure that they didn’t go off-route – but of course, real-time driving conditions were otherwise observed so as not to feel too much like a race.
The big winner of the event was the Ford Fiesta Econetic 1.6 TDCi which recorded 108.78mpg, beating the Kia Rio 1.1 CRDi eco which still managed an extremely impressive 102.21mpg – both exceeding the 100mpg mark which has so far never been broken in the event’s entire history.
Event organiser Ross Durkin commented, “This year’s MPG Marathon will be remembered for the two teams who beat the elusive 100mpg barrier – both superb performances.”
“But the real value of the MPG Marathon is that it highlights the fuel – and hence emissions – savings that can be achieved by any driver of any vehicle. The average improvement over combined cycle figures achieved by the 27 vehicles in this year’s event was a whisker under 16% – impressive by anyone’s standards, Durkin went on to say.
“The drivers had strict time limits to make sure they kept up with traffic and had a number of hold-ups to deal with along the way. The motor manufacturers and technology suppliers have done a tremendous job in improving the fuel efficiency of all news cars and vans, but motorists should see their published fuel consumption figures as a target to beat, not the maximum achievable.”
Only two of the 20 cars involved in the event were unable to best the manufacturer’s published MPG figures, proving that just about anyone who knows how to get the best performance from their car can enjoy savings on what the manufacturers estimate their cars will cost.