Monday, January 16, 2006

Your car's fuel economy rating is about to go down

To provide consumers with more real-world fuel economy information when shopping for cars, SUVs, and pick-up trucks, EPA is proposing new methods to determine the city and highway mpg estimates that appear on the window stickers. The new methods will take effect for model year 2008 vehicles, which will generally be available for sale in fall of 2007.

Under the new methods, the city mpg estimates for most vehicles would drop 10 percent to 20 percent from today's labels, depending on the vehicle. The highway mpg estimates would generally drop 5 percent to 15 percent.

Even with improved estimates, actual fuel economy will vary since no test can ever account for all individual driving styles, vehicle maintenance practices, and road conditions.

Changes were last made in 1985. The proposed changes announced today will improve the estimates to better reflect real-world driving conditions, such as higher speed limits, greater traffic congestion and more use of power-hungry accessories, such as air conditioning.

None of the changes proposed affect the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) program, which is administered by the epartment of Transportation. There are separate requirements for the test methods and procedures for determining fuel economy values under CAFE.

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