Understanding fuel ratings

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Vehicle fuel ratings in Canada are posted on most new vehicles. This information can be found on the EnerGuide label, which provides specific information on the car you’re looking at and may help you make a better-informed buying decision.

The information on these labels is collected in conjunction with ECCC (Environment and Climate Change Canada) and the Energy and Transportation Directorate.

It’s important to understand that while this information is useful for comparing various vehicles it’s likely you won’t see these exact numbers in real life.

The information for these labels is provided by the various manufacturers and was not calculated with real-life, on-the-road driving. The vehicle is mounted on a dynamometer in a lab to achieve the calculations. While the accuracy of this process

has improved overthe years in an effort to account for things like cold temperatures, air conditioning use, the difference between city and highway driving, and high speeds or quick acceleration, your actual fuel economy may vary.

Here’s a quick overview on how to read the sample label included with this column:

1 Vehicle technology and fuel — text and related icon identifying the type of fuel used by the vehicle.

2 Fuel consumption — a prominent combined fuel consumption rating and separate city and highway fuel consumption ratings in litres per 100 kilometres (L/100 km). The combined rating reflects an assumption of 55 per cent city and 45 per cent highway driving.

3 Fuel economy — the combined rating expressed in miles per imperial gallon (mi/gal)

4 Annual fuel cost — an estimate based on the combined fuel consumption rating, 20,000 km driven and the fuel price indicated.

5 Vehicle class range — the best and worst combined fuel consumption ratings of vehicles in the same class

6 CO2 and smog ratings — the vehicle’s tailpipe emissions of CO2 and smog-forming pollutants rated on a scale from 1 (worst) to 10 (best). The CO2 emissions, in grams per kilometre driven, are shown on the CO2 bar

7 QR code — a Quick Response code that links smartphone users to Natural Resources Canada’s website.

In real life fuel, economy is affected by many things. Your personal driving behaviour, like how fast you accelerate and drive, makes a big difference. So do weather, traffic, accessory use, braking habits, how often your car is serviced, tire pressure, how heavy a loadyou’re carrying, age and condition of your vehicle, and so on.

When shopping for a car, use this information to help with your decision, but don’t be surprised if your year-end gas bill is significantly different.

Catch Driving with Jens on CHON FM Thursdays at 8:15 a.m. Send questions or comments to Jens Nielsen at drivingwithjens@gamil.com, or follow him on Facebook and Twitter: @drivingwithjens.

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