What aren’t they telling us?

This almost has the title of a political rant (or, better yet, conspiracy theory) but it’s not. I know—what a relief, right?

Here’s what it’s about: don’t believe everything blogs, news sources, and other “experts” say to you. Especially if they provide you with a rating or some kind of statistic.

People want to naturally trust statistics and “experts” but without all the details, it’s hard to really trust the information. Two examples.

Car reliability
Consumer Reports gives information about vehicle reliability each year, indicating which are most reliable, and which are less reliable. I used to live by these things until I realized something important—they’re not giving us all the information.

Here’s what I’d like to know: just how more reliable are the reliable cars? Is it significant enough to really influence my decision? The answer might be yes, but I’d like all the information so I can make a truly informed decision.

In illustration, car XYZ may be the most reliable. But what does that mean in real terms? Maybe it means that XYZ breaks down 1 out of a 1000 cars. The fifth most reliable car is going to break down more than that, certainly, but just how much more? Is it significant? If it’s breaking down 100 out of a 1000 times, then yes. But maybe it’s only breaking down 3 out of a 1000 times. That is not significant.

See what I mean? Give me all the information so I can make a better decision.

Rooftop carriers
I read an article yesterday that gave ways to stretch your fuel dollars. Good article. But one point stuck with me: take the rooftop carriers off the top of your car. They decrease gas mileage by as much as 15% at 65 mph. That’s pretty significant, and probably a reliable number.

But here’s what I’m wondering—what kind of roof carrier were they using? Was it a boxy type? Was it an aerodynamic type? I reckon that if the rooftop carrier manufacturers gave us a statistic, it would be more favorable than the one in an article about how to improve gas mileage.

Anyway, question everything that you read. Don’t take it at face value, because chances are you’re not being told everything.