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Automobile journalists validate fuel efficiency ratings

(NC) If you've ever wondered whether or not the fuel efficiency ratings for your vehicle are achievable in real-world driving, the answer is yes, according to the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada.

Some of the biggest names in automobile journalism put fuel ratings to the test for 22 vehicles last summer during AJAC's second annual Eco-Run between Ottawa and Montreal. The results were “eye-opening with respect to the relative merits of different fuel-saving technologies and the effect of driving style on fuel economy,” the association said after the event.

The Eco-Run demonstrated the broad range of techniques and technologies currently available to help consumers reduce their fuel consumption and costs.

Here's a snapshot of the results:

When drivers deliberately apply fuel-efficient driving techniques, as journalists in the exercise did, remarkably low fuel consumption figures are achievable. Some of the techniques that were used were slow acceleration, maintaining a steady speed, anticipating traffic, coasting to decelerate and avoiding high speeds.

The overall average fuel consumption for the 22 vehicles equalled or bettered the official fuel consumption ratings published in Natural Resources Canada's EnerGuide, proving that they are in fact attainable in the real world.

Battery electric vehicles were deemed to be the most fuel-efficient for both city and highway driving.

Plug-in hybrids were the next most fuel-efficient, achieving significantly better fuel economy than conventional hybrids in city driving.

Hybrids, as a group, had lower fuel consumption than gasoline or diesel vehicles overall.

While the hybrids excelled in city driving, gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles of similar size and shape were as good or better than some of the hybrids on the highway.

Diesel-powered vehicles tended to be slightly more fuel-efficient than their direct gasoline counterparts in highway driving.

“The Eco-run was a great opportunity, not just for automotive journalists, but for all consumers to find out more about fuel efficiency and how easy it can be, not matter what you drive, to save money on fuel,” said Ian Jack, CAA managing director of communications and government relations.

For a list of the vehicles involved in the Eco-Run visit www.ajac.ca/eco-run. For tips on fuel-efficient driving, visit www.vehicles.nrcan.gc.ca.

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