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Why Do European Cars Get Better MPG Than US Cars?

Jalopnik -- The European market has many more small, fuel-efficient car models than we get in America, but even European versions of international cars like the Jetta are rated at higher MPG numbers. We can explain why.

This question came up when Consumer Reports slammed Ford's Ecoboost motors and downsized turbo engines in general.

..
Part of that is that Imperial gallons are different than US gallons. 1 US gallon = .83 Imperial gallons. 45 US MPG = 54 Imp MPG. Or, 65 Imp MPG = 54 US MPG.

My Golf TDI gets right at 50 (US) on the highway, so it's right in the middle.

We would also point out that European cars don't go through the same tests as American cars do. The EPA's test attempts to mimic American driving conditions, while European cars go through a more European test.


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Submitted Feb 07, 2013 By: BurntOrange
Category: Daily News Article Discussions > Topics Add to favorite topics  
Author Topic: Why Do European Cars Get Better MPG Than US Cars? Back to Topics
REPLIES (newest first) Post a Reply
honda0105
Champion Author Tallahassee

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Message Posted: Feb 10, 2013 8:06:42 AM

Europeans also drive more stick shift / manual transmissions. And the EPA is always "ESTIMATED" - a nice way of saying, "we don't really care how much mpg the vehicle gets, we just run a few tests on a testing stand and extrapolate. Since we do that for everyone, it should do the trick..."
BEGTWO
Champion Author Maryland

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Message Posted: Feb 8, 2013 8:35:10 AM

OK
blupupher
Champion Author Houston

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Message Posted: Feb 8, 2013 8:22:40 AM

different set of rating tests. EPA guidlines are used here in the US, not sure about Europe.
Amplion
Champion Author Oregon

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Message Posted: Feb 8, 2013 3:33:09 AM

European engineering is superior. BMW is best !!!
bonzoonfmb
Champion Author Florida

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Message Posted: Feb 8, 2013 12:18:40 AM

EPA?
richnc
All-Star Author North Carolina

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Message Posted: Feb 8, 2013 12:15:22 AM

I suspect they have smaller cars what get better mileage.
bvrbill
Champion Author Eugene

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Message Posted: Feb 8, 2013 12:09:53 AM

Different standards, different results.
kcboy
Champion Author Utah

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Message Posted: Feb 8, 2013 12:06:25 AM

ok
N5EXY
Champion Author Austin

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Message Posted: Feb 8, 2013 12:04:27 AM

Different standards for the tests, cars and fuels. No ETOH blend - better mileage.
SparkieMi
Champion Author Kalamazoo

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Message Posted: Feb 7, 2013 11:54:23 PM

I think walkingtall sums it up well!!!!
Beaveronparade
Champion Author Hartford

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Message Posted: Feb 7, 2013 11:53:44 PM

They make much smaller cars.
tidalwave3
Champion Author Tallahassee

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Message Posted: Feb 7, 2013 11:49:56 PM

Night and Day on either side of the Atlantic ;)
CiVX
Champion Author Oakland

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Message Posted: Feb 7, 2013 11:46:20 PM

Because their considerations are practical and ours are corporate/ commercial interests.
Gazstation
Champion Author Montreal

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Message Posted: Feb 7, 2013 11:46:16 PM

"Europeans don't use gallons, duh......... How many F350s do you see on the autobahn?" You convert it to Km in liter.
wbpprint
Champion Author Chicago

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Message Posted: Feb 7, 2013 11:45:37 PM

Is that where all our extra corn goes, or don't they use ethanol? Our winter blend here gives me 10-15% less mpg depending on the temps, the colder the worse the mileage. Our restrictions are killing our economy as well as the ethanol killing our cars.
herbiepopnecker
Champion Author British Columbia

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Message Posted: Feb 7, 2013 11:42:55 PM

Europeans don't use gallons, duh......... How many F350s do you see on the autobahn?
HailstormCA
Champion Author San Diego

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Message Posted: Feb 7, 2013 11:40:57 PM

Just go to liters and we'll all have a standard. Ut-oh. I don't like that idea at all.
cssco
Champion Author Virginia

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Message Posted: Feb 7, 2013 11:38:39 PM

It is the result of a vast number of differences starting with the fact the Europeans lies are bigger and better than the average American fibs. Ever notice the World record for everything is European since the USSR has gone out of biz.
clermont40miles
Champion Author Cincinnati

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Message Posted: Feb 7, 2013 11:37:04 PM

Smoke and mirrors.

By declaration. Some by Fiat.
NAVYHM
All-Star Author Cleveland

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Message Posted: Feb 7, 2013 11:36:09 PM

BECAUSE THEY WANT TOO...
Gazstation
Champion Author Montreal

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Message Posted: Feb 7, 2013 11:36:07 PM

Lamborghini Countach 5mpg Hmmmm...
wayoung56
Champion Author Alabama

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Message Posted: Feb 7, 2013 11:35:49 PM

At least our fuel prices are lower than they are in Europe...
NemoIL
Champion Author Illinois

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Message Posted: Feb 7, 2013 11:33:06 PM

Everyone knows that the Germans make the best cars.
GRUMPY55
Champion Author California

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Message Posted: Feb 7, 2013 11:32:36 PM

Smaller cars
SavALot
Champion Author Virginia Beach

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Message Posted: Feb 7, 2013 11:24:37 PM

Euro gas efficiency
nimpy
Champion Author Indianapolis

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Message Posted: Feb 7, 2013 11:24:20 PM

I don't know why, please tell me
PetroCrap
Veteran Author Toronto

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Message Posted: Feb 7, 2013 11:24:00 PM

Another major factor with European cars getting better gas mileage is that the average person needs the car to get the highest mileage possible, gas prices are considerably higher in Europe than they are here, Most of their cars are standard transmissions which get better mileage and because they look for smaller lighter cars they don't load them up with options that add weight, Europeans don't live in their cars, they don't need to take their living room on the road with them.
SNOWMI
Champion Author Michigan

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Message Posted: Feb 7, 2013 11:20:56 PM

So you mean the fuel effiency is the same, huh?
btex49
Champion Author Austin

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Message Posted: Feb 7, 2013 11:20:00 PM

And generally speaking, the European cars are smaller and lighter.
serrog
Champion Author Nova Scotia

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Message Posted: Feb 7, 2013 11:19:37 PM

Better workmanship, design, quality.
FlyNFool
Champion Author South Carolina

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Message Posted: Feb 7, 2013 11:18:03 PM

Ok
mlmeng
Champion Author Michigan

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Message Posted: Feb 7, 2013 11:16:59 PM

walkingtall got it right.
SavALot
Champion Author Virginia Beach

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Message Posted: Feb 7, 2013 11:14:45 PM

uhh the metric system?
Chuck11211960
Rookie Author Tucson

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Message Posted: Feb 7, 2013 11:13:22 PM

they don't have the US restrictions
BREW9
Champion Author Tampa

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Message Posted: Feb 7, 2013 11:12:44 PM

small
Canucktree
Champion Author Alberta

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Message Posted: Feb 7, 2013 11:08:12 PM

Duh!?
DustyHorse
Champion Author Virginia

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Message Posted: Feb 7, 2013 11:07:34 PM

Sounds reasonable.
Chas58
Champion Author Detroit

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Message Posted: Feb 7, 2013 11:05:52 PM

Smaller, lighter, and normally under-powered.
walkingtall
Champion Author Toronto

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Message Posted: Feb 7, 2013 11:05:39 PM

Why do European cars get better miles per gallon than United States cars?and also a number of european cars use diesel which also gets better fuel economy.
rjoeh
Champion Author Michigan

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Message Posted: Feb 7, 2013 11:05:27 PM

Another issue is that while European clean air standards are catching ours.. they are still not as tight. Therefore... european engines do not have to labor under an enectronic shroud of sensors and valves to maintain clean air. Less labor = better mileage.
Lukus
Champion Author Halifax

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Message Posted: Feb 7, 2013 11:05:06 PM

There is more competion in Europe.
abcdMA
Champion Author Worcester

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Message Posted: Feb 7, 2013 11:01:36 PM

Duh, they are smaller
30mpg80
Champion Author Lexington

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Message Posted: Feb 7, 2013 10:58:28 PM

It is the published ratings, not road mpg
mstearno
Champion Author Dayton

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Message Posted: Feb 7, 2013 10:50:30 PM

because GM is big here and not there
Bobmilan
Champion Author Louisville

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Message Posted: Feb 7, 2013 10:47:31 PM

Apples to Oranges comparison. Different standards.
BrucePen
Champion Author Ontario

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Message Posted: Feb 7, 2013 10:44:40 PM

Smaller and they have more diesel motors.
nomad228
Champion Author Columbus

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Message Posted: Feb 7, 2013 10:44:04 PM

the question isn't do they get higher gas mileage,it's whether or not it actually offsets big earls price increases on fuel.
Barfood
Champion Author St. Louis

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Message Posted: Feb 7, 2013 10:43:04 PM

First sentence..."small"...
DCbeachbum
Champion Author South Carolina

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Message Posted: Feb 7, 2013 10:41:23 PM

Yes, the MPG should be different than Europe. The driving is quite different than in the US.
Taurus1
Champion Author Ohio

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Message Posted: Feb 7, 2013 10:40:29 PM

It depends on "who" makes the tests.
sagnat
Champion Author Riverside

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Message Posted: Feb 7, 2013 10:37:17 PM

My VW Jetta wagen (with diesel) is large enough for my family of 4 to travel in. Granted, this isn't a month long trip with associated baggage but big enough for a weekend or week long road trip. Plus, I get better than 45 MPG all day long on road trips.
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