Reality Check sets out each month to look at advertising around cycling or transport or environmental issues which, well, isn't quite the wonderment it makes out.
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It's not that sensible to pick a fight with someone much bigger than you, but the Michelin Man is a little more lardy than your average chap, so I reckon I'm safe in running away before a blow can be landed...
I must warn you before starting here that maths will be involved. But it's pretty basic stuff, and really you would have thought the marketing people behind Michelin would have realised because of this. And it all centres around the tyre (or tire if you're Stateside) in the advert above, which aims to stop the 'evil' petrol pump from stealing your petrol.
As you'll see the tire can save you 109 gallons of fuel over 55,000 miles. This equates to about 4 and a half years motoring for the average car, so, rounding up, 25 gallons a year. Assuming those are US gallons, that's about 95 litres a year in the UK, which at present fuel prices (average of £1.338 a litre) saves you... £127 per year. Subject to the caveat of "Actual on road savings may vary."
Doesn't sound too bad does it? Except in the UK things are... Erm... Different. I found this confusing, but the UK advert states that 80 litres will be saved over the life of the tyre. So what's the life of the tyre? About 28,000 miles apparently. Or 2 and a third years. So the saving is about 34 litres a year, which equates to about £45 a year.
Put another way, each year these wonder tyres will save you less than a tank of fuel. If you are commuting 5 days a week with the car, and fueling up once a week because of that, leaving the car at home one day a week will save the same amount of fuel in five weeks. Doing so for the whole year will save ten times as much fuel as using these tyres. It would therefore save you that ten times the amount of money out of your pocket which you pay to the evil petrol pump.
£450 can be saved by adopting a practical measure of leaving the car at home one day a week. Using the tyres (which, of course, you have to pay for - remember, using the car one day a week less will also result in less wear to your tyres) saves you £107 over the life of the tyre in the UK advert; at odds, somewhat, with the US advert. Over the Pond the tires will save you £571.
Which is quite a difference, considering the adverts, all except the final information page, are identical on both sides of the Atlantic. Why the difference? Who knows, but as far as the UK market goes, the financial case for switching to the special tyres is somewhat compromised by reality.