An average too much

Schermata 2015-11-04 alle 17.23.29A colleague of mine, Luigi Laura, reports a recent example of statistical ignorance. In the flurry of newspaper articles about the VW scandal, one of those, published on an Italian newspaper (and a very important one, poor us...), reported the statistics on the level of CO2 emissions as measured in laboratory tests performed by Transport & environment, a company whose mission is "to promote, at EU and global level, a transport policy based on the principles of sustainable development." The original study by Transport & environment can be read here, while the report by the newspaper can be read here. Among  other information, the study reported the real world fuel consumption for a number of car makers, as compared against the consumption obtained in lab tests (to show that lab tests may be misleading and provide lower consumption figures). In the article published on the Italian newspaper (written in Italian), alongside well known brands, like Bmw, Renault, Ford, and Volkswagen, a new shining brand appeared in the list of car makers, named "Average", but, I guess, unknown to car fans. Not surprisingly, the performance of this brand as to fuel consumption was, well, on average (media in Italian). The mystery is solved as soon as we take a look at the original picture, reported on the top left corner of this post. The reporter saw the grey bar aligned with the bars pertaining to all other car makers and mistook it as just another brand...

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