Cash-strapped motorists are now able to more accurately gauge how much fuel their car is likely to use.
A new online tool, developed by What Car?, allows drivers to access real-world fuel consumption information. What Car? True MPG has tested cars under the same conditions motorists face every day.
Until now, car buyers have needed to rely on manufacturer's figures alone. The system to determine this information is set out under European law and conducted in laboratory conditions.
The data provided by What Car? True MPG has been gathered using a portable emission measurement system once the cars' engines have reached normal operating temperature. Engineers then test the cars over a variety of roads including motorways, A- and B-roads, and through towns and villages. The data from the testing considers driving style, changes in altitude, ambient temperature and humidity and engine temperature.
The equipment measures carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide nitrous oxide, nitrogen dioxide and total hydrocarbons. From the CO2 output and knowledge of the exact fuel in the tank, the fuel consumption can be calculated with a high degree of accuracy.
What Car? editor-in-chief Chas Hallett said: “With rising fuel prices, the miles-per-gallon issue is high on every motorist’s agenda. Countless car buyers are frustrated that they don’t match the official government fuel figures.
"What Car? True MPG will allow motorists to select a car personalised to their driving needs and budget. We hope that it will become invaluable in the complex and emotional car-buying process."