Following Ford’s announcement that they will revise downward their advertised fuel economy ratings for the C-Max Hybrid, the United States Environmental Protection Agency said that the discrepancy between rated and real world fuel mileage was not the agency’s fault and appeared to be placing the blame on Ford for relying on the agency’s own rules, substituting data derived from the Fusion Hybrid because it shares a drivetrain with the hybrid C-Max. The EPA’s chief automotive regulator, Christopher Grundler, said that when they tested the Toyota Prius and Hyundai Sonata hybrids this summer, “It was fall quite reassuring.”
Grundler told Automotive News “The problem here is really not how the testing is done.” Grundler appeared to have been responding to Ford’s Raj Nair, global head of product development for the Dearborn automaker, who earlier said, “This is an industry wide issue with hybrid vehicles. We’ve learned along with EPA that the regulations create some anomalies for hybrid vehicles under the general label rule.”
Grundler did say that the Agency’s rule that allows very different vehicles that share the same drivetrain and approximate weight to share an EPA mileage rating will need to be changed to avoid the potential of misleading car buyers. He didn’t give a timetable but anticipated that it would take less than a year for the EPA to change the rule.
Toyota joined the EPA in pointing the finger at Ford. “Toyota agrees with EPA that this is a not a hybrid issue, but strictly an issue of how the Ford C-Max Hybrid fuel economy values were determined. We believe the current labeling methodology established since 2006 provides appropriate fuel economy label values for customers, when automakers apply these rules with good common sense and engineering judgment.”