With car manufacturers and importers all claiming to have the best fuel mileage for their vehicles, car buyers are caught in a quandary as to which one is really fuel-efficient. To set the record straight, Petron Corp. and the Department of Energy (DOE) teamed up to provide the answers with an economy run where 52 of cars sold in the country were tested for their mileage (or kilometrage).
So the 13th edition of the motoring industry’s premiere economy run, the Petron-DOE Eco Run, was held last November 20 at the Clark Freeport, Pampanga with 52 entries from different car classes. These comprised of people movers, pick-ups, subcompacts and luxurious compact vehicles. The field was composed of an equal number of gasoline-and diesel-powered cars, or 26 units each.
“DOE aims to empower our consumers in their choice of vehicle by putting a premium on fuel efficiency,” said DOE Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella.
“Through this event, we will be able to determine the fuel consumption rating in kilometers per liter of different brand new vehicles available in the market in accordance with actual highway driving conditions,” he added.
The DOE again tapped the services of CCAP and Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) expert Alex Loinaz to conduct the event. According to Loinaz, the best method to use was the SAE J1082 Standard recognized worldwide.
The SAE Standard incorporates driving cycles that produce fuel consumption data relating to urban, suburban and interstate driving patterns. It is intended to determine the relative fuel economy among vehicles and driving patterns under warmed-up conditions on test tracks, suitable roads or chassis dynamometers. This standard is good for light-duty motor vehicles, designed primarily for transportation of persons or property and rated at 4,500 kilograms (10,000 pounds) or less, on suitable roads.
Loinaz duplicated the interstate highway driving situation for the eco run through a midnight run along TPLEX for 216 kilometers, under the supervision of DOE and Automobile Association of the Philippines (AAP) marshals. They had to control the speeds and keep everyone at the same pace at 80 kph. Media persons were employed as observers in each car so the drivers maintained their speed, kept the air-conditioning on at the prescribed setting, and didn’t turn the engine off unless instructed by the marshals.
The DOE and AAP had the cars filled up at the Petron Clark Main Avenue station with XCS and Turbo Diesel according to their respective engines. The gas covers were then sealed with tamper-proof stickers and signed. The keys were handed to the officials for safekeeping and were only released around 11p.m. before the start of the event.
Petron clark flag off
After a short opening ceremony with the DOE and Petron officials, the first batch of 26 gasoline car entries were waived off by Fuentebella, Petron Assistance Vice President for Corporate Affairs Charmaine Cannillas and AVP for Marketing Ana Neri.
The next batch of 26 entries was from the diesel category and I was partnered with the lone Mini Clubman Diesel entry with Mini’s Stuart Samson and Paolo Aguila. The diesel vehicles ranged from the luxurious and upscale Mini Clubman, VW Golf GTS and the Volvo S90 to the workhorse or pick-ups of Mahindra, Suzuki Super Carry and the minivans of BAIC.
The Korean cars of Ssangyong (Tivoli and Radius) and Hyundai (Accent) were also present. The Japanese brands Toyota, Honda, Mitsubishi and Isuzu also fielded various gasoline and diesel cars for the eco run. There were also guest entries from BMW with the 318D and X. DOE had its 2017 Toyota Prius Hybrid as a guest entry.
TPLEX provided a very good stretch of highway to do 108 kilometers one way and another run of the same distance coming back for a total of 216 kilometers. Running past midnight, the highway was clear of traffic and the convoy had a relatively good run without much delay.
The Petron twin stations in Binalonan were the midway regrouping point. The weary convoy came back to Petron Clark around 5a.m. and were meticulously checked for tampering of seals before they were filled up to the specified level. The results of the event were then revealed at the awarding party at Fontana Resort in Clark in the afternoon.
The surprise of the day came when the most fuel-efficient vehicle turned out to be the Ssangyong Rodius SUV with a 2.0-liter turbocharged diesel engine with automatic transmission doing 33.12 kpl. The next was the Mini Clubman Diesel where I rode with 30.64 kpl, beating other luxurious diesel vehicles in their class. Third was the Volkswagen Golf GTS with 27.91 kpl.
For gasoline vehicles, the subcompact 1.3-liter Kia Picanto AT took first place with 29.23 kpl. The very popular 1.3-liter Toyota Vios AT came in second with 25.88 kpl edging out its smaller brother the 1.0-liter Toyota Wigo AT that got 25.19 kpl.
The Toyota Prius of DOE didn’t do well with 26.13 kpl and showed the driver also played a crucial role in fuel efficiency run. The Prius was also beaten by the BMW 318D with 26.94 kpl.
See table for the complete results of the Petron-DOE Eco Run.