In the United States we have a saying, "your mileage may vary", which means "your experience may be different". In English-speaking countries that don't use Imperial miles, is there an equivalent expression?
In some countries, the industry practice is to express fuel economy in terms of the amount of fuel consumed to travel 100km. Thus, kilometerage doesn't make any more sense than mileage does. Top Gear Netherlands expresses fuel economy as verbruik (consumption), e.g. Verbruik stad: 19.0 l/100km.
But you wouldn't say your consumption may vary either, because your mileage may vary has become a fixed expression thanks to its popularity in digital culture, and there's nothing wrong with using it even if you have no idea how long a mile is (or which mile you're referring to).
As established in another question, Mileage as unit-agnostic term, the term mileage does not require that the measurement be done using miles. The mile is a longstanding unit, going back to antiquity, and as a concept of distance is thus embedded deep in the language. The OED attests to mileage in the sense of fuel consumption from 1926:
The tendency… is to produce… engines of increased compression ratio, in order mainly to diminish the petrol consumption and increase mileage per gallon consumed.
from the journal Science 10 Sept. 237/1. But the metaphorical sense of mileage—the extent of benefit or advantage one can obtain from something— is actually even older, from at least 1860:
It has been a heavy mileage of neglect for which we have already paid dearly.
(W. H. Russell, My Diary in India I.x.155)
So an English-speaker can say mileage regardless of whether your miles are nautical miles, kilometers, stade, li, or smoots. Top Gear India gives mileage estimates in kpl (kilometers per litre).
The specific phrasing Your Mileage May Vary originates in U.S. federal regulation. The Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 mandated that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administer a fuel economy testing system for passenger cars and light trucks. Starting in 1978, a placard like this one was attached to all new cars sold in the United States:
(the design has been subsequently revised several times)
The disclaimer actual mileage will vary was variously rendered in advertising; EPA estimate; your actual mileage may vary and variants were ritualistically intoned in many a television and radio ad. The your mileage may vary variant happened to be the one that became popularized in digital culture, and with the rise of the retail Internet, YMMV became ubiquitous.
Although I'm sure there are generalized sayings with the lesson to manage your expectations, now my brain seems to be fixated on regulatory and liability-limiting language. YMMV is the only one that has migrated to online culture, however, so if anything, these alternatives are even more specific to the US and would only be recognizable as set expressions to Americans:
- Results may vary
- Kids, don't try this at home
- Past performance is no guarantee of future results
- Price and participation may vary
- No other warranty express or implied
- Contents may settle during shipment
- Other restrictions may apply
Essentially, any warning message that reality may not live up to the advertised ideal could apply, but the wording of the message would be localized.
In Canada at least, where use of the kilometre is normal "Your mileage may vary" is well understood in its internet sense. In fact the word 'mileage' is sometimes used even when expressing gas consumption in litres per kilometre. (Although 'fuel economy' or 'gas consumption' is the norm. 'Kilometrage' is used almost never.
circumstances alter cases (proverb)
One’s opinion or treatment of someone or something may vary according to the prevailing circumstances.
That's a slightly more restrictive definition than I would expect, since it can just as well apply to one's experience being different (as opposed to opinions or treatment of something).
- In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency requires a set of standard emissions tests on all new vehicles which simulate city and highway driving. Part of the test measures estimated city and highway gas mileage estimates. Since no test can exactly simulate all driving habits and conditions, 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."
An alternative is it may work differently for you.
Cooking instructions on pre-packaged food in the UK often contains the warning:
Appliances may vary. Ensure product is cooked though before serving.
Appliances may vary
is not vey common in speech, but is sometimes used and has roughly the same meaning.
Although we use miles, YMMV is not a common phrase.