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Old 05-16-2011, 09:58 PM   #1 (permalink)
ChrstphrR
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Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Edmonton, AB, Canada
Posts: 128

Schwartzejetta - '00 Volkswagen Jetta TDI GL
90 day: 52.87 mpg (US)
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Angry Canadian Auto Ads lying about MPG numbers

This has been burning me for a few months now, quietly festering...

It's not just one particular car company and they are all using it in ALL their advertising -- Window clings, on-lot signs, and TV broadcast ads.

Canadian auto companies are publishing misleading, nay, deceptive ads where they publish the proper Litres per 100km figures, but are ALSO using Imperial (UK) mileage figures instead of US MPG figures.

I realize it's a muddy area, since we are officially a metric country, and they are "free" to use whatever converted units they so wish. They aren't false numbers, they're deceptive.

But Canada sits right next to the U.S. of A., and the VAST majority of the population* would assume that the MPG figures quoted would be equivalent to the MPG figures you would see in the US.

We up in Canada don't shorten "fuel efficiency" down to "kilometerage" ... we use the word "mileage". In the same bent, everyone here assumes that Miles Per Gallon (MPG) assumes a mile of 5,280 feet, and a US gallon.


If Canada were right smack against the European continent, or a stone's throw from the United Kingdom, then I would not have this beef about which gallon is used. But, this misleading play with "unofficial" numbers preys on the math-phobic, at a time where they are concerned with the high cost of petroleum based fuels.

A US gallon is 128 fluid ounces, and a UK gallon is 160 fluid ounces.

When converted*, that means:

1 US Gallon is 3.78541178 litres
and
1 Imperial Gallon is 4.54609188 litres

The difference is around 20% -- which means, stating Imperial MPG figures, when the logical convention in Canada would be to use the US gallon, overstates MPG figures by 20%.

I honestly don't know why carmakers and dealerships in Canada are pulling this stunt -- it's only going to hurt them.

They WILL get blowback from consumers that buy cars on the promise of better mileage, even if they don't hear it themselves. They'll just have their dissatisfied customers gripe and rant and complain to their friends, their coworkers, and random people they bump into, for that matter.

Examples:

Signage:

No pictures yet, but the Volkswagen d(st)ealership in town has a portable sign extolling how the new 2011 TDI gets 61 highway MPG. This matches the equivalent imperial MPG for the 4.6 L/100km official figure on vw.ca for the '11 TDI Golf and Jetta; the US MPG equivalent to 4.6 L/100km is 51 MPG.

TV ads:



(Hrm, just realized, this is a 2009 model year ad... so they've been doing this in Canada for 3 years and I just noticed this year?



My dilemma:

Well, I'm right ticked off about this, and I know it's misleading, deceitful, and WRONG... and unless I really hunt around, there are no exceptions to the carmakers that are not using imperial mileage figures.

So, how do I fix this?

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** Conversions courtesy Unit Conversions and, Google also shows the correct conversions (plural):
liters per gallon - Google Search
liters per imperial gallon - Google Search

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