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The Wide World of EPA Numbers

Sections: Fuel Economy

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When it comes to EPA figures, one would think that the majority of people would obtain numbers that are close to the EPA numbers on the window sticker.  However, we recently had the debacle with the Ford C-Max and Fusion hybrids.  And then there was Hyundai going so far as to have to negate the validity of their Monroney.

Perhaps the testing method should move away from the EPA and into the hands of one single independent test lab.  A few expensive Horiba analyzers and a treadmill would seem like a good place to start.

Lauren Fix penned a terrific piece on the subject.  Big hat tip to The Car Coach www.thecarcoach.com

EPA + MPG = SOL OEMs  EDITION

First it was Hyundai with overstated MPG figures on several of its models, then it was Ford with the Fusion Hybrid.  Now, the EPA is investigating even more MPG claims: http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130213/OEM11/130219920/epa-looks-to-audit-more-mpg-claims#axzz2KyeV8ZSf

Now I tend to drive with a bit of a lead foot so my vehicles never match the stated MPG claims on the window sticker.  I can accept this since OEM’s MPG testing is typically conducted under conservative and ideal driving conditions.
However, it seems there are a number of situations occurring lately that involve conservative drivers missing the stated MPG mark no matter how feather-footed they are.  What gives?
Are OEMs lying to us?  Are their tests that disconnected from real world driving?  With gas as expensive as it is this days, many car buyers are paying close attention to window sticker claims now more than ever.  In fact, fuel-economy is one of the top three reasons car buyers choose a specific make and model.
On a personal note, a colleague of mine recently drove his new car, which has a stated 33 MPG highway, for 10 hours straight, averaging 60 mph.  It returned 27 MPG.  He only made one stop the entire trip to fuel up and shut the motor off during this process.  This is almost a 20 percent difference and yet he drove the entire length of the trip in a conservative manner on flat highways with no traffic and ideal weather conditions.  Even if you factor in a 3-4 percent loss due to E10, there is still quite a discrepancy.
And this type of scenario is quite common–I hear it from my readers all the time.  Because of this, I am actually going to go out on a limb and say that the Feds should step in and investigate this situation.  If manufacturers are lying to us and are exaggerating their MPG claims, then we, the American car buying public, are being duped into spending more at the pump than we should and that is just not acceptable.
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