Smaller cars are often associated with going green, but it turns out big cars might be the best for our fuel economy.
Cars with small engines were found to travel 18 per cent fewer miles per gallon (mpg) than the manufacturers had stated in their specifications, a study by data firm Emissions Analytics (EA) found. Such discrepancies suggest that smaller cars might not be as cheap and environmentally friendly to run after all.
Some 500 vehicles - half petrol, half diesel - had their fuel consumption and emissions measured by EA during the study. Although cars with engines up to one litre had an advertised average of 60.3mpg, the study found true consumption to be 38.6mpg - 36 per cent lower, dailymail.co.uk reports.
The difference is down to the way the cars are tested, according to EA founder Nick Molden. He told telegraph.co.uk: "Where people buy engines that are below one litre, you are getting worse fuel economy, therefore you are getting worse CO2 and you may also be getting more nitrogen dioxide, and that's not what is intended by the regulations."
Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said: "These astonishing figures only fuel the debate on the worth of official mpg data. Well over two million new cars will be sold in the UK this year, with small vehicles topping the sales chart. But how many drivers will actually get what they think they have paid for? The answer, in terms of fuel efficiency, must be not many."