EPA wants automakers to verify mileage claims with road tests
Proposal to include more real-world testing stems from customer complaints, lawsuits.
Following recent high-profile revisions of fuel economy ratings by Ford, Hyundai and Kia — and a rash of consumer complaints and lawsuits — the Environmental Protection Agency wants to require automakers to road test vehicles to verify the fuel economy claims that get posted on a car’s window sticker.
“Some automakers already do this,” Chris Grundler, director of the EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality, told The Wall Street Journal, “but we are establishing a regulatory requirement for all automakers.”
Although the agency confirms about 10 to 15 percent of automakers’ fuel economy claims through its own tests each year at the National Vehicles and Fuel Emissions Laboratory and regularly revises its testing requirements (most recently in 2008), fuel economy is otherwise measured by automakers and reported to the EPA. Testing is performed “under controlled conditions in a laboratory using a standardized test procedure specified by federal law,” according to the EPA, usually with pre-production prototype vehicles.
- Ford cuts fuel economy estimates on 9 models, faces EPA scrutiny
- Hyundai, Kia owners sue over exaggerated mileage claims
- Ford, citing EPA loophole, cuts fuel-economy estimate for C-Max
The EPA said that the difference between a driver’s actual mileage and the window sticker rating is among the most frequent consumer complaints it receives. The EPA proposal to require real-world testing, which will include a public comment period before being adopted, would make it difficult for automakers to fudge test results to deliver higher mileage claims.
Last month Ford cut fuel economy estimates on nine models for the second time in less than a year after it overstated test results. The mileage estimates of all Ford hybrids and plug-in hybrids from 2013-2014 came under scrutiny by the EPA and it was revealed that the results were based on poor testing conditions and faulty engineering practices.
Hyundai is being sued by consumers in South Korea over accusations it overstated the fuel efficiency of the Santa Fe crossover, while in 2012 sister company Kia apologized and compensated owners for overstating mileage estimates on vehicles sold in the U.S.
Even though automakers currently test vehicles for fuel economy using dynamometers and wind tunnels that simulates the real-world driving, The Wall Street Journal reported that the EPA’s proposal would reflect air resistance and rolling friction on a test track rather than in a lab. It added that these factors can affect fuel economy considerably, particularly with hybrids.
[Source: Automotive News]
Ford is in trouble for inflating their mileage claims, not because people drove the cars more aggressively than in a perfect condition. Even Ford admits they were wrong.
As for Jim's statement, you are assuming that everyone has common sense and understands a little bit of Physics. Obviously many do not and they believe what is printed on that label. I am all for the mpg estimates being redone to show what will be achieved actual conditions instead of perfect conditions.
Our 2014 Ford Fusion exceeded the hi way mileage claims and equaled the city mileage... I have never had an automobile that could get close.. must have been a Wednesday built Fusin that we purchased.
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