Digital miles-per-gallon readouts, a feature now standard on nearly all new cars as of the 2013 model year, appear to give drivers an accurate look at real-world fuel efficiency, but may differ greatly from Environmental Protection Agency mpg estimates on window stickers.
The accuracy of those dashboard readouts varies greatly by make and model and in some instances may give drivers the wrong impression about how their driving habits impact fuel consumption.
“I don’t think anyone is trying to hoodwink anybody,” said Dan Edmunds, director of vehicle testing for automotive research firm Edmunds.com. “But these meters have never been 100 percent accurate. They are more for instantaneous feedback to let you know how you’re doing.”