When sold a vehicle, one of its biggest attributes is its MPG, but in practice, it’s hard to achieve the amount it claims

From reading the road ahead to using your gears correctly, everything can count against how high your MPG can be.

Something to take into consideration across any vehicle is that now European guidelines are based on CO2 emissions, manufacturers optimise their engines to achieve the lowest CO2 in the tests, which skews MPG. MPG is the average fuel consumption figures from imperial urban and extra-urban fuel consumption figures, which are all worked out in set conditions. This is called the Imperial combined fuel consumption figure. As these MPG figures are worked out in laboratory conditions, the MPG does not account for driving conditions.

On average, cars only achieve 84% of their official MPG figure. For example, while the Peugeot 208 1.6 Blue HDi 75 claims to be able to achieve MPGs of 94.2mpg, in reality, drivers find it averages to 63.4mpg – 72% of its claimed MPG. It’s generally accepted that if your vehicle can achieve an MPG of 60mpg, it’s quite economic.

A lower MPG than cars, vans are considered economical when achieving an MPG in the high 30’s to low 40’s. The most economical small van – the Ford Transit Courier 1.6 TDCi 95 – boasts a high 70.6mpg, but in practice hits 60.6mpg, only 86% of its claimed MPG. For comparison, the UK’s favourite van – the Ford Transit Custom – has an average MPG of 30.6mpg.

The MPG of a HGV will vary wildly depending on what it is pulling, and as such, it is hard to have a definite MPG guide. Some average at 8mpg, while others manage 17.9mpg. However, they benefit from the same tips and tricks that car and van drivers do; don’t use the air con, drive smoothly, read the road ahead and reduce your gear changes. Also, make sure you load your cargo the best, most efficient way, putting the weight as far to the front/behind the cab as possible and working back, rather than in the middle or at the end of the trailer.