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Fuel Economy Claims Inflated by U.S. Automakers, Too

EPA Fuel Economy & Environment Label
EPA Fuel Economy & Environment Label

Just like it’s been reported in Europe, automakers inflate fuel economy numbers by a large margin. EPA will try to stop that from happening in the future.

Some people, like myself, shop for a brand they’re most familiar with and have confidence in. Some might look for “any SUV with towing capability,” and then there are those who are looking for “four wheels and a motor.” Think of anything else? Leather seating, electronics packages, safety features, four-wheel drive, and the list goes on. When shopping for a new vehicle, we have enough choices to make your head spin.

Choices are what make life interesting, or perhaps bewildering, but the most important factors when considering a new vehicle purchase is probably not too difficult to nail down. For the sake of argument, considering the Ford Fusion SE and the Toyota Camry Hybrid, Price and Fuel Economy are big business when it comes to marketing. While, the prices, $27,200 and $26,140, aren’t the far apart, Ford will tout that for an extra $1,060, you will also get 47mpg over the Toyota’s 43hwy/39city mpg.

Is 4mpg worth $1,060? Ford seems to think so, and due to the fact that the Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] doesn’t actually test most of the new vehicles that hit the road, it’s easy for Ford to slap a 47mpg sticker on the Fusion Hybrid. For the most part, the EPA doesn’t actually audit all the vehicles that it assigns a Fuel Economy & Environment Label to, testing up to 200 models each year and assigning lab results and manufacturer statements to the rest.

Some recent scandals have brought the EPA procedure to light, regarding inflated fuel economy ratings of some new Kia and Hyundai vehicles, as well as the aforementioned Ford hybrids, Fusion and C-Max. “Your Mileage May Vary” isn’t enough for the consumer anymore, and they are demanding stricter measures. The EPA, in turn, is looking to increase audits of manufacturer procedures, and I’m hoping, actually test more vehicles. How much more testing and auditing, though, may be limited by funding. Forget marketing, now’s the time for the manufacturers to produce a vehicle that performs as reported, and it’ll market itself.

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