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New EPA fuel econ testing

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Old 01-19-2007, 07:20 AM
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Default New EPA fuel econ testing

New EPA Testing Reduces Gas Mileage Estimates

By Jon Alain Guzik

So, you're in the market for a new car. You're looking at both the 2007 and 2008 models, but something seems off. You look closely. It's the same car model with the same parts under the hood. But, according to the sticker in the window, they get completely different gas mileage. No, you're eyes aren't fooling you; the new 2008 EPA fuel economy standards have changed.
The new 2008 fuel economy estimates will be lower than the estimates on the same vehicle from the previous year. Don't be shocked and think the manufacturers are building less fuel-efficient vehicles.
The 2008 vehicles aren't any less fuel-efficient than 2007 models - actual fuel economy has been stable for the past decade at around 21 miles per gallon.
What Has Changed

What has changed is the way the EPA records the fuel economy for automobiles. The updated 2008 window sticker reflects a broader, updated range of real world factors that estimate closer to your actual fuel usage. This is due to the first changes in fuel economy testing since 1984.
"Driving has changed so much, since we last updated the method in 1984, that we were due for a change," says EPA spokesman John Millett. "We have faster interstate highway speeds, 65 to 70 miles an hour in some areas, up from 55. We also have a lot more vehicles equipped with air conditioning."
While the EPA's machinery for testing hasn't changed, what has changed is the fundamental way they test cars. "We have no new machinery. What we have are three additional tests. One each for interstate and city driving, as well as a new air conditioning test," Millett continues. "The EPA began to look at changing the tests on March 24, 2004. While no test is perfect, due to real world variables that are impossible to recreate in a lab, we can look at the overall general changes in the past 20 years and do a better job testing."
When asked how the changes will affect the new 2008 vehicles, Millett says, "It certainly will be even. Whatever we do has to be a level playing field for all of the automakers; it also has to be good for the consumers, so they will get the mileage on the sticker. On average, from the 2007 to 2008 models, it's going to be a 10% decrease in change on most vehicles. For vehicles with better fuel economy, the new testing will affect the vehicle more in a 20-30% range."
To avoid sticker shock, make sure that when you are shopping for a vehicle, you are comparing mileage labels from 2007 to 2007 models and 2008 to 2008 models.
Manufacturer's Response

"We've been working with the EPA on educating the consumer," says Alan Hall, Brand Communications Manager for Ford-Lincoln-Mercury. "We are also encouraging customers to compare apples to apples, 2008 to other 2008 models. It's a matter of educating the consumer. 50 to 80 percent of new car shoppers are online, so most will know what the changes imply. We applaud the EPA for getting closer to real world standards and it's the right way to go. There might be some miscommunication as the 2007 and 2008 models overlap, but with the customer becoming more educated, we'll try and clarify these changes."
When asked how he thinks the other manufactures will take the change, Hall replies, "The EPA mileage change will be an equal thing for all the car companies and it's an overall win for the consumer. We want the consumer to be well aware when they look at the fuel economy that there are no mechanical changes or an actual decrease in fuel consumption. The only thing that has changed is the testing."
"Fuel economy will still vary," says the EPA's Millett. "There is no perfect number that can capture the differences in how people drive. Even with the new label estimates, your fuel economy will vary based on many factors, such as how you drive, how you maintain your car and the climate where you live. Since these are averages we are talking about, some people may do better and some worse, but with this new method, people might do better than what the sticker actually reads."
 
  #2  
Old 01-19-2007, 07:30 AM
bwilson4web's Avatar
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Wink Re: New EPA fuel econ testing

Originally Posted by fernando_g View Post
New EPA Testing Reduces Gas Mileage Estimates

By Jon Alain Guzik. . .
I understand the new standards won't show up until "Sept 1, 2007."

http://www.epa.gov/fueleconomy/

The protocol has been defined and though a little complex, parts of five SAE tests are involved, I can't really comment until I see the actual numbers for our hybrid vehicles. The real proof will be to see how they compare to the database.

Bob Wilson
 
  #3  
Old 01-20-2007, 04:51 PM
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Default Re: New EPA fuel econ testing

Originally Posted by bwilson4web View Post
I understand the new standards won't show up until "Sept 1, 2007."

http://www.epa.gov/fueleconomy/

The protocol has been defined and though a little complex, parts of five SAE tests are involved, I can't really comment until I see the actual numbers for our hybrid vehicles. The real proof will be to see how they compare to the database.

Bob Wilson
Hm, I thought they applied to all MY 2008 cars. I assume manufacturers will release the new figures anyway for '08s made pre-9/1. Chevy did that at NAIAS with the '08 Malibu.
 
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Old 01-20-2007, 07:43 PM
bwilson4web's Avatar
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Default Re: New EPA fuel econ testing

Originally Posted by empowah View Post
Hm, I thought they applied to all MY 2008 cars. I assume manufacturers will release the new figures anyway for '08s made pre-9/1. Chevy did that at NAIAS with the '08 Malibu.
Certainly there will be preliminary numbers but by Sept. 1, 2007, we'll all be on the same sheet. By then the patent infringement case should be resolved and we'll know the Toyota hybrid market status.

Bob Wilson
 
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