Forty Miles Per Gallon?

With the high cost of gas, no doubt car commercials that promise 40 miles per gallon are catching lots of people's attention. But Consumer Reports says these ads aren't necessarily telling the whole story.

There are many TV commercials touting "forty miles per gallon" - and even more.

One says, "The Chevy Cruze Eco gets up to 42 miles per gallon."

Another boasts, "… 41 mile per gallon highway Civic HF."

Then there's, "The 40 miles per gallon Elantra."

The ads sure are attention getters, but Consumer Reports Auto Editor Rik Paul says the promises aren't necessarily all they're cracked up to be.

Rik Paul with Consumer Reports says, "The numbers in the ads are for highway driving only. The estimate for city driving is below 30 miles per gallon for most of these cars. So unless you drive mainly on the freeways, you're not going to see 40 miles per gallon."

And you often can't get the best mileage with the base model, either - something most ads bury in the fleeting fine print.

With the Ford Focus, you'll have to get the SE sedan for more than $17,000 and add a $500 Super Fuel Economy Package.

As for the Chevy Cruze, you'll need to buy the 18-thousand-dollar Eco version that only comes with a manual transmission.

And the Honda Civic HF advertised goes for more than $20,000. That's $5,000 more than the base model.

Rik explains, "People think of these cars as relatively inexpensive. But to get the highest gas mileage, you'll likely have to pay more than you might want for an economy car."

The Hyundai Elantra is a little different. It promises 40 miles per gallon for its base model, which starts at just $15,000.

Rik says, "In our tests the Elantra got 39 miles per gallon on the highway, 29 overall. That's pretty good for this class, but it's not quite the promised 40 miles per gallon."

So the next time you hear a commercial touting 40 miles per gallon or more, take it with a grain of salt.

In Consumer Reports mileage tests, there are several cars that do deliver 40 miles per gallon on the highway, or even more. They're the Toyota's Yaris and Corolla, as well as the Mazda 3. But remember, that's just for highway driving. Overall mileage is considerably lower.


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