Honest Engine

In Germany, Land of Fast Cars and Fuel-Efficient Fables

  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Drivers facing high gas prices want to know the truth about how efficient their vehicles really are.

  • Facts


    • A German automobile club has estimated that fuel consumption rates are 25 percent higher than carmakers’ claims.
    • Emissions and pollution are big issues too.
    • Some auto manufacturers worry about being able to meet new standards.
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Auf Sparsamkeit getrimmt: «Eco-Tuning» soll Spritverbrauch verringern
A recent study has faulted some German automakers for making exaggerated claims about engine fuel efficiency. Source: DPA


It is an annoyance familiar to many consumers worried about gas prices. When buying a new car, drivers want to know their vehicle’s gas consumption rate. They are often disappointed.

Generally, autos consume 1 to 2 liters more gasoline or diesel fuel per 100 kilometers than stated. The German Environmental Relief (Deutsche Umwelthilfe) group has published a website where drivers can log in their vehicle’s fuel consumption.

The ADAC, Germany’s equivalent to the AAA auto club in the United States, at one time determined that fuel consumption rates were about 25 percent higher than carmakers’ claimed.

Auto manufacturers are not primarily at fault for the fibbing.

The companies continue to benefit from a so-called “driving cycle” set of behavioral statistics compiled by the European Union. The European Union gets help in drafting these statistics from the Motor Vehicle Emissions Group, an organization associated with the auto industry.

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