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What is fuel economy?

All new cars sold in the UK since 1st January 2001 have been required to take a test to determine their fuel economy and determine their CO2 emissions. The tests are carried out by the Department of Transport and they aim to provide an accurate representation of actual on-road fuel consumption, with all cars having to have covered at least 1,800 miles before being tested.

Much debate has taken place about the 'real world' accuracy of the results, but in reality they provide the only way to enable a meaningful and standardised comparison to take place. Three tests are carried out, and an overview of each test is below:

Urban Fuel Economy Test

The urban test cycle is carried out on a rolling road from a cold start, with a maximum speed of 31mph and an average speed of 12mph. It is designed to replicate city driving.

Extra Urban Fuel Economy Test

This cycle is conducted immediately following the urban cycle, with a maximum speed of 75mph and an average speed of 39mph. It is designed to replicate more long distance travel.

Combined Fuel Economy Test

The combined figure is an average of the urban and extra-urban parts of the test, weighted by the distances covered in each part.

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