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ChrstphrR 05-16-2011 09:58 PM

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
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.



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 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?


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

gone-ot 05-16-2011 10:10 PM

...standards are SO great, we have such a plethora to choose from, and all sufficiently & uniquely different to guarantee confusion.

...good thing we're not heading to Mars or something similar!

Christ 05-16-2011 11:05 PM

But it's really only misleading in that it.s overreporting the figures based on peoples assumptions, right? I mean, It's not saying that an suv is doing better than your neighbors civic, right?

I feel like anyone with half a brain will figure it out pretty quickly. Maybe I'm wrong?

pprince 05-17-2011 10:31 AM

I really don't understand why you are upset.

Canada has always used the imperial gallon and never the US gallon.

I am old enough to remember when we bought gas and the pumps dispensed in....imperial gallons.

When I see those ads I knew instinctively they were in imperial gallons.

Perhaps you are younger and have succumbed to the US culture? Not meaning that as a slight but a reality of living next to a large country.

ChrstphrR 05-17-2011 10:43 AM

I'm younger (mid 30s), and never bought anything in Imperial gallons in Canada. I'm from the Metric / mixed measure age.

Any imperial measures, I've only ever associated with the ones used here, AND in the US.
That means, no fluid measures in Imperial gallons / quarts / pints / gills / etc.

Maybe I'm wrong and the majority of the population does think of Imperial fluid measures in Canada. But you folks won't live forever, and the rest of us "young" pups are utterly ignorant of that.

pprince 05-17-2011 10:59 AM

Just a suggestion....take pride that the advertisers are being "Canadian" in using imperial.

Down the road we will be purely metric. It is us older folks that allow them to use imperial.

Times change. My son is a licensed mechanic. Carbs are a mystery to him :)

euromodder 05-17-2011 12:07 PM


Originally Posted by pprince (Post 238947)
Down the road we will be purely metric.

Nothing wrong with going metric, it's actually a lot easier to use. ;)

pprince 05-17-2011 12:17 PM


Originally Posted by euromodder (Post 238969)
Nothing wrong with going metric, it's actually a lot easier to use. ;)

I agree with you.

I am 55 and I am beginning to "think" metric now. Temperature has to be Celsius for me. Fuel economy I can switch either way. Building materials are all English.

ChrstphrR 05-17-2011 12:44 PM

My dad built out house starting when I was eight -- so all feet and inches linearly, square feet and yards for areas. I only learnt metric in school at that time. I think they un-bannished other measures now in Onterrible, but it was the metric system only in school.

I learnt or reinforced the concept of fractions from tape measures and wrenches during that housebuilding time. The shop work I did years later, having people forty and under, generally had a VERY difficult time figuring out how to add 5-3/16 to 4-1/2 correctly.

I certainly don't hate ye olde english measurement system; it did help me knowing it. :)

It's just that I cannot see the justification for Imperial MPG measures in Canada, when no one is going to take a ferry for 2 weeks across the Atlantic to go fuel up in Ireland or England. Given that the majority of Canadians live within 200 miles or closer to the US border, they are MUCH more likely to fuel up on the US side, or buy a car from the US to import it back, and it'd be more sensible to have comparable MPG figures. Over 3/4 of our trade is with the US, not the UK.

That's my perspective, and why I think it's utterly unreasonable to market mileage figures that fit better in the UK, than they do in the country that sits right next to the US.

Fat Charlie 05-21-2011 05:09 PM

What Canada (and other metric users) needs to fix is the way they report fuel efficiency in metric. Their speed limits aren't in minutes per 100 Km, so why do they calculate fuel in liters per 100 Km? Km per hour works and so would Km per liter.

I have a unit of time. MPH and KPH tell me how efficiently I'm using it. I have of unit of fuel, too. MPG and KPL tell me how efficiently I'm using that. MPG is easier to understand than the contortionist thinking that L/100Km takes, even if the gallons being used are somewhat inflated ones that nobody on this continent actually uses. It's misleadingly inflated, yes, but it's still more useful information.

At home I buy my fuel by the gallon. North of here I buy it by the liter. Nobody sells me fuel in 100Km units. It's more useful to know how far the unit of fuel I'm buying will take me than it is to know how many units of fuel I need to buy to make it 100Km.

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