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EPA investigating Ford hybrids for mileage accuracy

Consumer Reports finds the new Fusion and C-Max have not reached their advertised fuel economy, and the EPA is now looking into it.

By Exhaust Notes Dec 10, 2012 11:41AM
When Hyundai and Kia admitted to overstating EPA mileage estimates and were hit with lawsuits, many wondered who would be next to fall. It could be Ford.

Just one month after the Korean automakers bungled numbers on 75 new cars, Ford is now in the agency's crosshairs for its new Fusion and C-Max Hybrid models.

Who else but Consumer Reports, which despises the automaker's MyFord Touch infotainment system, to claim that the two hybrids aren't making anywhere near their 47-mpg ratings. Both hybrids claim 47 mpg in city, highway and combined driving.

Consumer Reports, after purchasing and breaking in the two hybrids, says it has achieved an average of only 35 mpg city/41 mpg highway for the Fusion and 35/38 for the C-Max. It says other owners have reported similar disappointing results.

"Yes, the disclaimer on EPA fuel-economy labels notes that your results may differ. But the overall mpg for these C-Max and Fusion models is off by a whopping 10 and 8 mpg, respectively, or about 20 percent," the magazine said. "Our overall-mpg results are usually pretty close to the EPA's combined-mpg estimate."

The EPA is still investigating Hyundai and Kia and also is considering civil penalties for their missteps, according to Bloomberg. Ford could face similar trouble -- and lawsuits -- if the EPA determines the mileage estimates are off.

Despite common sense, the EPA relies on manufacturers to submit their fuel-economy estimates and verifies only about 15 percent of all new cars every year.

Ford says your mileage may vary. 

[Source: Bloomberg via Automotive News]

281Comments
Dec 11, 2012 8:20AM
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Why does this often seem so taboo to talk about?  Mileage sells cars.  One single more MPG advertised probably sells thousands of cars.  This reminds me of Lance Armstrong…the benefit of cheating can be huge.  All we need is one non-profit organization that people trust.  That org just needs to take every new car that comes out for 1000 ride in normal every day driving and report publically what they get.  Done.  Why would anyone trust the manufacturers?...too much to gain if you lie.

Dec 11, 2012 8:18AM
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Ok Consumer Reports (a lefty magazine), let's see some FACTS about fuel mileage.

 

Several factors go into fuel mileage ratings.  First off, you NEVER get that high of mileage right from mile zero.  The car/truck HAS to go through these phases of break in:

1.  Engine "tightness".  When a motor is built, it is (by mechanical terms) "tight".  That means that the rings, pistons, valves, fuel system seals and gaskets have not "seated" into the motor, therefore, you are not getting the MOST power transfer out of the engine/fuel systems.  There is NO leak externally, just alot of lost power/fuel economy INSIDE the engine, until these seats/seals settle in to where they should, which usually takes (on an average) around 25 to 50,000 miles.

2.  Driving strategy.  New cars processors, are LEARNING COMPUTERS.  They adapt to YOUR driving habits over time.  This could take up to 200 miles of COMBINED highway/city/idling times.  The processor learns how hard you hit the throttle, then adapts that strategy to your fuel system, transmission processor (if seperate from the main cpu), and so on.  When a car leaves the factory line, it has a base program that it goes off of, until YOU the owner drive it for a distance where it learns YOUR habits.  Fuel mileage takes longer to determine this way, and for CR to base it off a fresh, no mileage vehicle is just wrong.

3.  Individual driving habits and maintenance.  Many people drive their vehicles very hard, and as such, this cuts into fuel savings as well as wear on the vehicle.  Also, these same people believe that a fue/air filter should last as long as they own the car.  I have seen numerous times where fuel filters and air filters are plugged solid, cutting mileage greatly.  And it ONLY takes 15,000 miles on a current air/fuel filter being dirty to cut drastically into your mileage.

 

Bottom  line:  Am I saying Ford and Hyundai is right or wrong?  No.  I'm simply saying that Consumer Reports should do MORE research on what they write, and give ALL of the facts that contribute to poor fuel mileage, instead of just taking the one sided approach they usually do.

 

Just saying...

 

Sincerely,

 

A dis-satisfied customer and voter...

Dec 11, 2012 8:15AM
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I have a 2012 non hybrid Ford focus. It was listed at 38 MPG highway and in mixed driving I get 33-37. Full highway, good gas, No AC 41 mpg.  Why is a hybrid not that good?  We bought it instead of a hybrid and saved $$ since hybrids cost more.
Dec 11, 2012 8:15AM
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Corporations spend millions to promote smaller government and less oversite convincing the idiots among us that the government is the enemy of its own people! Well  here you go america guess what the corporations lie to us at every possible opportunity in order to make more money! The EPA was cut back by the republicans as just an unneeded intrusion on our freedom! Yeah right
Dec 11, 2012 8:10AM
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Just like my new dishwasher that has mega claims regarding energy and water saving.  If you use that function dishes do not get clean!  Time to ditch all the smoke and mirrors and just make products that work.
Dec 11, 2012 8:08AM
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I like Morpheus55's suggestion, let the consumer reports on their findings realtime for all auto companies, and average from their, Not from the companies or some magazine.

 

Dec 11, 2012 8:07AM
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They do this to sell cars !! The US is full of gullible people !! That why Washington is the way it is !!
Dec 11, 2012 8:04AM
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And we should trust Consumer Report's study because?
Dec 11, 2012 8:00AM
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The EPA has the proper means of mileage metering.  There is no way, that just dividing miles by gallons, will give you a proper reading.  Most everybody, does not stop filling after the pump automatically shuts down the flow.  Checking on one tank of gas is absolutely false.  The best is to keep a record of at least 3 fills, and then stop filling each time it shuts down automatically.  Then divide the regular way total gals, and miles.  So many things can effect MPG. I read all of the comments, and blaming the government is about as stupid a reason.  I have a 2008 Escape, and am very satisfied with the MPG.  It is at least 5 to 10% better than the EPA.  You want to save, buy a car with a 4 cyl engine, as you do not need to burn rubber with a big old V8 gas guzzler.  Don't drive with a lead foot, and you will save!!!!!!!!
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score one for consumer reports toyota,honda inc. 

most of the products cr raves about are pieces of crap

but they always hound american manufactures. thats why i cancelled

their biased magazine.

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