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Your Mileage May Vary – Emissions Analytics Offers Independent Rating

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Emissions Analytics Offers Independent Fuel Economy Ratings
Emissions Analytics Offers Independent Fuel Economy Ratings

As emissions regulations get tighter, and fuel prices refuse to drop, improving fuel economy in automobiles is becoming both a regulatory and personal headache.

When shopping for a car, I’m sure you’ve heard the term “Sticker Shock,” which typically refers to the difference between the MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) on the sticker and the price you sign under on the contract. Today’s green vehicles, including high-mpg (miles per gallon) conventional vehicles, HEVs (hybrid electric vehicles) and PHEVs (plug-in hybrid electric vehicles), are competing for regulatory approval and consumer dollars.

For the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), automakers have to prove they’re meeting emissions regulations. For consumers, automakers have to deliver the highest mpg for the consumer’s needs. in both cases, there seems to have been some fudging of the numbers, leading to another form of “Sticker Shock” entirely. Automakers have turned to the old “Your Mileage May Vary” excuse, but this doesn’t always satisfy the EPA or the consumer. Last year, for overstating their fuel economy numbers, Hyundai and Kia had to pay back millions of dollars to dissatisfied consumers.

While some of these fuel economy discrepancies can be explained by differences in driver habit or fuzzy math, mpg- and emissions-conscious consumers want the real scoop. The EPA is working to adjust its own testing methods, which seems to coincide with a new company releasing fuel economy ratings of its own, Emissions Analytics, which releases its findings on Intellichoice. Mounting 170 pounds of equipment on a vehicle, test drivers run an 88-mile route over about two hours, covering different driving conditions, from school zone to freeway.

Emissions Analytics results are available for about a hundred vehicles tested. Apparently, the EPA’s updated test methods are getting closer to the real thing, at least for some vehicles, but other vehicles are still off the mark. For example, the 2013 Honda Fit is rated, by the EPA, at 33 mpg highway, while Emissions Analytics rated it at 37 mpg. On the other hand, the 2013 Honda Accord LX sedan is rated at 36 mpg highway, while independent testing measured only 34 mpg.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. beepee  well, i didn’t want to mention that you have to drive right in order to get anywhere close to the sticker. vehicles are made and tested at 55 mph, with a limited load, and no exterior accessories. the result is an mpg number than almost no one can achieve, because almost no one drives their cars that way. “real world” mpg is going to be different for everyone.
    for example, my 2005 toyota rav4 was rated, by the EPA, at 22 mpg combined. my personal fuel economy was 26-28 mpg combined. the results on fuelly.com are all over the place, between 11 and 33 mpg.
    as far as the performance cars go, and anyone worried about economy, they need to learn to drive. at the same time, the automakers and the EPA need to figure out how to calculate a real fuel economy number that makes sense in the real world. not gonna happen.

  2. First, let me apologize in advance, for the rage to follow.
    “Sticker Shock” is represented by the MSRP and it’s relation to an
    “unexpected” increase (usually since your last purchase of a couple
    of years ago).  “Fudging of numbers”, has been elevated to an
    art form.  Remember the once easy-to-read MSRP sticker comparison between City and
    Highway.  Well now a much larger “overall
    average number” dwarfs the now smaller
    City/Highway numbers as it is placed prominently between the City/Highway
    numbers (it’s an eye-catcher and really stands out).
    Further, you can forget about, the “your driving may vary” concept.  I’ve stated before, I own a 2013 Lincoln MKZ
    Hybrid that was (still is for 2014) stickered 47 City/47 Highway.  There was a Class Action filed on behalf of 2013
    MKZ Hybrid owners.  The MKZ Hybrid will
    not consistently get 47/47, nor will it’s “twin”, the Prius get 45/45.  Here’s why. 
    If you drive the car, in moderate highway conditions, at 70mph, on
    cruise control, it can run comfortably on EV. 
    The more you drive in EV mode the higher the overall mpg – right? Right,
    but the power required to maintain speed when a 1-2% grade is encountered, automatically
    gets an assist “due to acceleration” from the on-board gasoline engine.  This, of course does not happen in EV mode under
    20mph – EV mode continues even when a 3-4% grade is encountered.  Re-programming the electric drive to “accelerate”
    at highway speeds will put stress on the lithium-ion batteries, which in turn,
    will automatically require assistance “due to charging” from the on-board
    gasoline engine (and probably too frequently to be practical).
    Last thing, consumers want higher mpg’s, but the MOST popular
    cars are “performance” cars, and if you look hard at the sticker, the tiny City Mpg number ranges
    from 15-17mpg.  So it’s hard for me to
    believe that when I see popular cars doing 75-80mph at highway speeds, these
    folks are worried about gas prices or mpg’s – on the other hand, a Honda doing
    80mph on the highway is still probably getting over 25mpg (but of course over
    30mpg, if they’re doing the speed limit).

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