A report by the The Dog and Lemon Guide has critised the government's fuel consumption ratings attached to new cars. The report says that on the road, cars rarely come near government figures, and use up to two or three litres per 100km more than the new car rating.

Editor of The Dog and Lemon Guide, Clive Matthew-Wilson, said during a test of a new Toyota FJ Cruiser, he achieved an average fuel consumption readout of 14L/100km, a few litres short of the government rating of 11.4L/100km. Mr Matthew-Wilson said,

"Around town – which is where most of these vehicles will spend their days – the fuel consumption will be over 18L/100km. That’s nearly 60 percent higher than the so-called average figure quoted by the government."

Mr Matthew-Wilson says it's not confined to large cars either. He says hybrids are often presented to be much more efficient than they are in the real world.

"According to the BBC, government fuel consumption figures for hybrids are often out by around 30 percent, and our own tests confirm that. The government website says that the Prius uses an average of 3.9L/100km. In the real world, independent tests have shown the Prius uses an average of 5.3L/100km."

It's an interesting topic being argued here. Many buyers looking for a new car use the government figures as a serious factor in the car selection process. Most buyers do not realise that these figures have been provided under laboratory conditions, and not under normal day-to-day driving conditions.

However, the figures have been put into place as a consistent rating or measurement that consumers can use to compare each car. The tests are always conducted under the same conditions and in the same manner, across all manufacturers. It's the only way the government can provide extremely consistent ratings in regards to a fuel consumption figure.

What do you think? Is this report onto something, or should buyers perhaps be made more aware of the fine writing below the government results, that the results are not a representation of what to expect in the real world?