By on July 15, 2014

EPA HQ

In light of re-estimated mileage per gallon claims by Ford, Hyundai and Kia, the Environmental Protection Agency seeks to prove the claims of all automakers through real-world testings.

Automotive News reports a proposal by the agency would mandate automakers to road-test their vehicles in order to verify that the mpg claimed in the lab is achievable on the street. The proposal would also make manipulation of lab results to deliver higher figures difficult at best.

Though a number of automakers already use real-world testing, the EPA is establishing “a regulatory requirement for all automakers,” according to agency director of the Office of Transportation and Air Quality, Chris Grundler.

The test itself would become more rigorous, emphasizing air resistance and rolling friction at the test track over computer modelling.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

47 Comments on “EPA Mandates Real-World Testing For All Automakers...”


  • avatar
    kvndoom

    Bah. So they’re finally admitting the crap people use to make purchasing decisions was just a racket all along?

    Kudos to the few automakers who didn’t game the system and were honest all along. The rest are gonna get a well deserved black eye.

  • avatar
    thelaine

    EPA = Frankenstein’s monster.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      Actually, Nixon’s

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        Get over yourself, I doubt your old enough to have even lived under Nixon. You need to get over the obvious hard on you have for Nixon that prevents you from not mentioning him every article with your EPA in mention.

        That or either you love him because similarly to all your other political buddies, Nixon represents the corruption you know and love.

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          The point is that in a previous generation, the US was fortunate enough to have two parties that actually wanted to govern, and saw value in working together.

          In the 70′s, Democrats and Republicans both saw value in providing Americans with clean air, water and environment.

          I’m not sure what prompted all your anger and hate. But I do know what causes your (not “you’re”) deficient grammar.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            So you now believe one or both parties don’t want clean water, air, etc?

            Are you saying one party is trying to make it worse than it was pre-70s, or are you saying one party isn’t trying to make it continuously cleaner?

            Yep, I’m not grammatically correct, I went to school for engineering, not liberal arts, so I’m not going to waste time appeasing you.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Nixon was preschool compared to what goes on today

            … and I’m liberal

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            disingenuous (comparative more disingenuous, superlative most disingenuous)

            Not noble; unbecoming true honor or dignity; mean; unworthy; fake or deceptive.
            Not ingenuous; not frank or open; uncandid; unworthily or meanly artful.  [quotations ▼]
            Assuming a pose of naivete to make a point or for deception.  [quotations ▼]

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            If you don’t agree with the Party on any single environmental issue then you don’t care about the environment. Ask any scientist who has bucked the herd if being proven right was any sort of solution either.

      • 0 avatar
        RogerB34

        Actually, Nixon proposed the EPA and Congress enacted his proposal.
        The President proposes and Congress disposes.
        High school civics.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          Yup. The funny thing is that back in those days Nixion was still considered a conservative. Now-a-days the party would be red faced screaming at him for being a Communist.

        • 0 avatar
          Lorenzo

          Supposedly, the idea for the EPA came from Morris Udall, who thought spreading out environmental authority among several departments was too inefficient (and too difficult for environmentalists to enact measures through multiple agencies within those departments). Nixon agreed with a catch-all agency and created it by executive order, assuming it could be controlled or even disbanded by a future President.

          Congress agreed with the separate funding as a stand-alone agency (otherwise it would have to be contained within a department with department funding), and authorized it to administer Congress’ environmental mandates. Whether a president can now eliminate the agency the same way it was created, by executive order, is now a bone of legal contention.

  • avatar
    mitchw

    I admit, it will be harder for me trust Ford, or not think of Hyundai as clowns in the future( you too Jeff Bridges) Does anyone know if the 40mpg steaming pile is why John Kravcik is now at TrueCar?

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I have an idea:

    Why don’t the folks at the IIHS, who buy their cars off dealer lots, use the cars they are going to crash test for a couple tanks before crashing them and report on the findings? They’re located in an area where they can get a mix of highway and more urban driving easily.

    • 0 avatar
      Landcrusher

      You are just so full of hate. I suppose after making all the jobs minimum wage you will then have it all done overseas?

      Unbelievable.

      • 0 avatar
        Land Ark

        I… well.. huh?

        • 0 avatar
          Landcrusher

          Right. Playing innocent are we? So we are supposed to believe that you aren’t proposing we eliminate all the fine people at the EPA who out of their love of the earth have devoted their lives to coming up with highly scientific tests to determine mileage ratings? And, I suppose the people who now do the tests aren’t in your sites? You have no intentions of replacing all these hard working, educated people with the cheapest labor you can find?

          You one percenter, government hating, greedy racist!

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            But…but Landcrusher…I happen to think we don’t need a massive, wasteful, expensive, power-mad, business destroying, taxmoney gobbling, regulation promulgating, insatiable federal monstrosity just to insure clean air to breathe and clean water to drink.

          • 0 avatar
            redav

            You can’t test per a methodology without first having the methodology. So we can keep all the fine, noble, educated people at the EPA who create highly scientific tests. But we can also eliminate all the worthless, overpaid, lowest-common denominator, tax-dollar suckers. We cad do both–we have the technology.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            Well, I’m running out of lefty insults, but I’m sure one will come by to insult you shortly.

            I’m not against the EPA in theory. I’m just against bureaucracies that can willy nilly crush families and small businesses while somehow unable to catch and punish large companies dumping tons of stuff we all agree is dangerous. If your own regulators can’t keep up with your regulations then you need to stop adding to the mess. And, then deciding to regulate CO2 is going way over the top.

          • 0 avatar
            Land Ark

            Well, I certain am not calling for the abolishment of EPA (they don’t refer to themselves as “The”) since Mrs. Land Ark works there, though not in nearly as an interesting part that tests cars, and her losing her job would cause us to fall into the 2 to, God forbid, 3%. And that won’t do. Do you know what kind of parking space I would get at the country club with that shame hanging over us?

            I’m suggesting it as a supplement in the same way the government does the highly accurate testing of cars by crashing them into a flat wall at a set speed and the IIHS does their obviously less accurate tests where they simulate actual crash scenarios to determine crash worthiness.
            Obviously the government program is still around and clearly the most realistic, but potential buyers can ALSO use IIHS test results to help find the best car for them.

          • 0 avatar
            Lorenzo

            Landcrusher, please include “/sarc” at the end of your comments. People who stop by only occasionally or recently, and haven’t seen the body of your comments don’t always get it.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            Yes, I should have been more obvious about my sarcasm though it turned out to be quite illuminating. I’ve been called all those things for pointing out the same sorts of things that our EPA family member did.

            The bottom line on this is that if the EPA just quit the program, CR and CD and all sorts of private groups would offer more accurate numbers without a dime of tax payer support and without the obvious side effect of suboptimal solutions designed to game the EPA system. Then again, I’m supposedly an anarchist, government hater cuz I’m a Murcan Patrut. :)

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            The bottom line on this is that if the EPA just quit the program, CR and CD and all sorts of private groups would offer more accurate numbers without a dime of tax payer support and without the obvious side effect of suboptimal solutions designed to game the EPA system. Then again, I’m supposedly an anarchist, government hater cuz I’m a Murcan Patrut. :)

            Exactly.

  • avatar

    Who believed those ratings anyway? My 2500 Suburban is supposed to get 18 mpg highway. Yeah right. Whenever I want to know mpg figures, I search the forums. The govt rarely does things correctly.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      Since when were 3/4 trucks supposed to post MPG figures? And who the hell pulled that number out of their rear better yet.
      12mpg is a good day with my 6.0s.

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        Traditionally, 3/4 ton trucks and SUVs had a GVWR of 7,500 pounds, so that was set as the cutoff for fuel economy ratings. The thinking was that anything over that would be used primarily in commercial service. The pickup tow rating wars pushed GVWRs over that limit, so these days pretty much every truck bigger than a half-ton doesn’t get a rating.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      EPA numbers are not intended to have anything to do with what real people get in real service.

      EPA numbers are supposed to be the result of standardized test methodology so that different vehicles can be compared against each other. Real-world testing of EPA methodology is good because it eliminates fudging within the computer (as Hyundai claims they used the wrong drag formulas), not because it will be closer to how real people drive.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    When Ford pulled that cute trick of putting the same mileage numbers on a C-Max as a Fusion, taking advantage of a regulatory exception designed for badge engineering, I knew this that was going to pi$$ the EPA off to no end. This is the inevitable result of automakers trying to game the system.

    And we wonder why we end up with thick, complicated government regulations that after a few decades of loophole-closing become an impenetrable mess…

  • avatar

    Or, consumers could stop expecting the government to force companies to reveal “EPA mileage”. Consumer protection in general is a great pain in my life. There are people who beat the stickers, even before the named auto-makers revised them. We’d likely get even better real world mileage out of engineering if companies weren’t so focused on designing for the standardized test. Boy that argument sounds familiar….

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      :facepalm:

      Caveat emptor only works when consumers have access to real, meaningful information, and that is the purpose of EPA numbers, not anything to do with what they should expect to see. Thus, “beating the stickers” has no place in a discussion of methodology.

      EPA mileage testing, and this “real-world testing” requirement is about doing a better job ensuring that each manufacturer reports information that is real & meaningful so that the consumer can make their own informed decision. It is not to reduce the whining of dumb drivers.

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        But we have plenty of resources for real numbers and would likely have more if government and quasi government organizations would go do something else. There was a real need for this in the seventies, but now it’s just counter productive. The real reason for it is CAFE which is just silly nonsense of the highest order.

  • avatar
    MBella

    The EPA’s test was very flawed. The automakers just adjusted their designs to game the system. Highway numbers should be real world tests where the car is run at 70-75mph. Nothing sucks more than a car with 40mpg highway that screams a 3500rpm at 75mph.

  • avatar
    Z71_Silvy

    Typical government incompetence. And a majority of you fools want to trust then with even more of my money in the form of a higher gas tax.

    They’re is no learnin’ some people.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “EPA Mandates Real-World Testing For All Automakers”

    Good. Then the Optima Hybrid could be rated higher than today’s sticker of 36/40.

  • avatar
    RogerB34

    The EPA is making mountains out of molehills.
    The current EPA mpg are computer programs run on a dyno.
    If the EPA is wrapped around the axle about manufacturer test accuracy they should sample for verification.
    Reasonable real world is CR tests.
    No test method will satisfy those not achieving EPA numbers.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      They do perform random samples or samples when there are a significant number of complaints. The later is why Hyundai got caught. Of course all they do is the standard FTP and do the calculations, properly instead of “making a mistake” like Hyundai did.

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    How are they gonna determine “real world”? “your mileage may vary” still applies even with actual figures. I’ve got a 14 mile round trip commute to my part time job. If I work an evening shift, my mileage is inevitably better on they drive home than the drive to work. Why? stop lights and traffic. getting to work requires two left hand turns on a main road, meaning lots of time sitting at a stop light. traffic is also higher at 1:30 in the afternoon when driving to work meaning I catch many of the lights. This being Florida, if its summer, it means the ac is also going full blast. On the drive home, OTOH, those two left turns become two right turns usually requiring no waiting and only a brief stop. Traffic at 10:15 pm is light, and its not uncommon for me to make the whole drive without stopping, cruising at an mpg inflating 55 mph. the combination of night and the inevitable afternoon rains will mean that my AC will hardly be working. Same road, same route, and I’m willing to bet I could see a 30-40% difference in mpg.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Well it would have to be on a closed track. However everyone’s mpg would still vary since no one will drive on that closed track. Which of course is why they choose the dyno in the first place. The dyno is in a climate controlled facility where the same conditions can be replicated no matter where that dyno is located.

      While the dyno method certainly has its limitations it is far more consistent than “real world” would ever be unless that test track was in a climate controlled facility.

      Even if they do go to a “real world” test individual mileage would still vary since how and where people drive varies.

    • 0 avatar
      shipping96

      I thought the same thing – the real world is highly variable.

      The EPA may be big government, slow, bureaucratic and burdensome. But I don’t see a better solution. Let the free market decide? Like in China? I like clean air and water.

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        That’s a strange leap of logic, shipping. You can’t really tie mpg numbers to free markets to china to EPA mileage estimates. China is not a free market. They are just poorly regulated. I don’t know where their smog comes from, but I don’t see the connection to mileage estimates.

        People here do value mpg, and non government organizations seem to create mileage estimates even though the EPA already has.

        It’s a government program that ought to get terminated.

  • avatar
    TW5

    Good move by the EPA. They were undermining their own credibility by busting auto manufacturers for acing their testing procedures. Changing the test is the appropriate course of action.

    However, an independent third party could test more flexibly and reliably. I wonder why the EPA doesn’t fund several entities to do this work for them, and to compete to pioneer the best real world cycle.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      I agree that they do need to make some more changes to the test since currently the hwy portion does not reflect current hwy speed limits but I don’t think “real world” testing is the answer since there are too many variables that can’t be controlled as easily as they can on the dyno.

      The problem is that CAFE is tied to the raw numbers generated by current testing system so they really can’t change the test without revisiting CAFE standards. Lowering the current CAFE numbers isn’t something they will be willing to do as it makes them look weak.

      So as the article said, unlike the click bait headline, this a proposal and the likelihood of it being enacted is slim to none.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    Who gets the contract to build the giant indoor test track so they won’t test with a tail wind?

  • avatar
    makuribu

    What took them so long?
    How hard could it be to rent a big oval track, get a bunch of cars, stick 1 or 2 gallons of gasoline in them and run them around the track with the cruise control on at 55mph until they stop?
    Instrumentation and data acquisition is dirt cheap these days. You could measure everything the car’s computer already does plus several hundred other sensors inside and out.
    Yes, your mileage may vary, especially if you commute in bumper to bumper traffic or cruise at 85mph, but it’s more realistic than running the car on rollers in a wind tunnel.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Can we get real world regulations too?


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Authors

  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India