Motor manufacturers must emphasise that official fuel consumption figures might not be replicated on the road following a ruling from the Advertising Standards Authority. Why? Because the regulator – that ensures consumers are not confused/misled – has upheld the complaint of an Audi A3 owner who could not achieve the car's advertised average fuel consumption. Whereas the manufacture acted within the law – and consistently with other producers – the Advertising Standards Authority concluded that it “should have qualified the figure to make clear to readers that it was based on an EU test for comparative purposes and may not reflect real driving results”. This ruling effects all car producers and its influence will be seen via outlets such as television, radio, magazines, and the internet. But let us be clear. It is not that vehicles cannot hit their reported fuel consumption figures – but they must be piloted efficiently and within limited parameters.
Advertising Standards Authority Comments
Advertising Standards Authority spokesman, Matt Wilson, said: 'This is a significant ruling that draws a line in the sand - it is not just about Audi. It sets a precedent that will have ramifications for other car manufacturers. The ruling sets out quite clearly that qualification is needed when quoting this type of figure. There will be an industry-wide communication to manufacturers and trade associations so they are aware of what to expect in future.”
How Is Fuel Efficiency Calculated?
Fuel efficiency is calculated via the urban and extra-urban test cycles. The former replicates motoring through town whereas the latter reflects faster conditions. As such the test vehicle - that must have covered at least eighteen-hundred miles – is placed on a rolling road in a laboratory that has a temperature of between twenty and thirty degrees centigrade. Its engine must not have run for several hours. The urban cycle test requires the car to accelerate, maintain speed, decelerate and idle. During this two and a half mile run it reaches thirty-one miles per-hour and averages twelve. The extra-urban test follows immediately afterwards. This too requires the vehicle to accelerate, maintain speed, decelerate and idle but this time it averages thirty-nine miles per-hour and hits seventy-five throughout a longer route. Results are then averaged to create a combined figure that can be a useful marketing tool. However, as some people believe such figures are guaranteed the Advertising Standards Authority's ruling is an important step forward.