Van users have been warned to treat all fuel consumption figures with caution, unless they derive from their own experience. Steve Clarke, group marketing manager for Fuel Card Services, said, “A recent Which? report showed only 13 of 200 tested vehicles living up to manufacturers’ official mpg figures. Surprisingly, this is hardly news, with various vehicle makers being fined for misleading during recent years. Van users can hardly expect that LCV manufacturers’ claims are any more accurate. Until this environment changes, van users should only trust the statistics they compile themselves.”
The report on a three-year study revealed that manufacturers’ official consumption figures were optimistic, on average, by 13%. It appeared during the same month as an unrelated report surveying 1,000 business decision-makers.
Steve Clarke said, “RAC Business found that 44% of those surveyed cited fuel economy as their top priority when acquiring new vehicles of various types. It is not difficult to conclude that almost half of business vehicles are bought for their supposed fuel efficiency, but based on misleading claims in 93% of cases. If they had only surveyed van users, a higher figure would not have been surprising. The only sensible option is for firms to rely on their own fuel consumption evidence, while ensuring that they continue to refuel as cost-effectively as possible.”
He welcomed the eventual implementation of a more reliable testing protocol for fuel consumption, the Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles Test Procedure. This may be implemented across the EU during the coming two years, in line with ever-greater EU emphasis on sustainability.
“While everyone waits for fuel consumption figures that can be trusted, van users should re-evaluate their fuel procurement. Many will have been using the same fuel cards for years, not realising how that market has changed significantly. They need to reassess, comparing everything available. It makes no sense to look for fuel-efficient vans but not to refuel them cost-effectively.”