your mileage may vary

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The United States Environmental Protection Agency requires all new vehicles to undergo a set of standard emissions tests which simulate city and highway driving. Part of the test measures estimated city and highway gas (petrol) mileage estimates. Since no test can exactly simulate all driving habits and conditions, the actual gas mileage of each vehicle will vary. As a result, when these estimated mileage claims from automobile manufacturers appear in advertisements, they are almost always accompanied with the standard disclaimer “your mileage may vary”.



your mileage may vary

  1. (idiomatic) It may work differently in your situation, or be different in your experience.
    The battery lasts a day in my phone, but your mileage may vary.
    • 1994, Bob LeVitus, Macintosh System 7.5 for Dummies, page 328:
      In other words, your mileage may vary and my disk-size figures are just estimates provided for your convenience.
  2. (idiomatic) Used to express a possible difference in taste: this is just my opinion, your opinion may be different.
    I think that red dress looks really good on you, but your mileage may vary, of course.