The Reality Behind EPA Testing

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

Yes, well, Car And Driver‘s Dave Vanderwerp kind of stole our headline for his takedown of EPA testing practices. Still, he earns it by stripping away any illusions you may have harbored about the rigor of the EPA testing process. Did you know that the EPA only tests 15 percent of all new vehicle models, taking automakers at their word for the other 85 percent? Surely you were aware that the EPA once had to convert a Bugatti Veyron to two-wheel drive for testing because it didn’t have four-wheel dynos at the time? No? Hell, the EPA test can’t even tell whether the BMW M5’s +100hp “M” button is on or off. No wonder the Volt is going to get 2,347 mpg! Read the whole thing over at MSN Autos.

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • R H R H on Sep 11, 2009

    With the newer revised ratings, they pretty much match what I get in my STi (16/22) unless I drive really slow or take really short trips, or drive aggresively (not common). The revised numbers for the Neon are nowhere close. I barely get the city highway mileage (22) and almost always get 35+ on the highway (rated 28). Then again, skewing the numbers on the highway is pretty easy unless you are stuck in traffic. STi in the right lane at 52-53mph (6th gear)= 32mpg STi in the left lane with the turbo spooled (3rd-4th gear)up closing in on 80mph = 8mpg. I've also averaged a tankful on the neon (all highway) at 40mpg. I have done a full 35 (29 hwy, 6-7 city) mile commute with an average over 29mpg in the STi (rated 22 in the new numbers). I have also done 19'ish on the same commute coming home in heavy traffic. I use a real-time obd2 meter (scangauge) to get's a couple years old and works well.

  • Anonymous Anonymous on Sep 11, 2009

    "Author: dean Comment: Eric: your last statement is exactly why CAFE should be scrapped and fuel taxes implemented that attempt to add the cost of externalities into the price of fuel. And it is exactly why every American should support it. You would be free to buy and drive any damn vehicle you wanted provided you were prepared to pay the price. Under CAFE, however, your choice is restricted by an arbitrary and ridiculously complicated/expensive regulatory regime. (And it still won't have the same effect on national gas consumption that a tax would.) But of course, Americans want the best of all worlds: buy whatever they want, and have everybody else contribute by subsidizing the external costs and keeping fuel prices low." Absolutely true. Dean sure is Econ Literate. And so important, I wanted to quote the whole thing. However, the cowards in Wash DC (COngress especially) will NEVER accept the TRUTH and impose a huge tax on gas (even if it is 100% offset, as I would prefer, with an income or other tax cut of equal magnitude) And this is true whether you are "freedom loving" , "Oprah loving", or whatever, the laws of Econs do not change. Now as a consolation, one positive reault I expect from the new CAFE rules, is that finally these clowns in Germany and Japan that make luxury cars will offer them in the USA AS WELL as overseas with the more efficient diesels, with smaller gas engines, etc. There is no need for a 4.3 lt v8 on the S class. "4 out of 5 dentists" that are dumb enough to buy them new, would not notice it if it had the 2.8 6 instead, or even this new 4 supercharged!

  • JMII JMII on Sep 11, 2009

    This is why YMMV so much. Consumer Reports actually DRIVES the cars and reports back the results, this gives much better results then any EPA test done on a dyno, in a lab, while looking at a monitor. The whole system is flawed, everyone knows it, this is why model specific fan forums always have a sticky thread at the top called "Whats your MPG?". It would be really interesting if all cars downloaded their fuel use/miles driven yearly into some official database that is published for all to see. Prime examples of YMMV: my Dodge Dakota has always come 2-3 mpg short of its EPA city/highway #s while driving on the ruler flat roads of Florida, yet my VW Passat gets nearly 3 mpg BETTER then its ratings under the same conditions (and same driver).

  • DweezilSFV DweezilSFV on Sep 12, 2009

    The EPA #s have rarely been reflective of what actually is achievable or what drivers actually get.Those are a broad estimate from a lab test. They were always an off shoot of emissions testinin the first place. I guess if I drive in a lab I will achieve those exact #s. And the new stats for the earlier cars are simply derived by taking the old #s and subtracting 10%. My ION is rated at 32 HWY under the old testing [2.2, auto]. Now it's rated at 29. In all of my freeway driving I have never seen 29.It's generally between 34 and 37. And I have recorded every drop of gas since the first tank. In the city it's always gotten better than the EPA #s old and new. Los Angeles traffic and commuting, sea level, hot, cold, mountain driving it's given better mileage. But in the uproar everyone forgets the disclaimer: "your mileage may vary" and it does. It's never been a secret that the EPA #s were essentially irrelevant. That's why there's such a wide range in the classification on the window sticker. Which no one reads. And when the car doesn't get the "claimed" range, there's something "wrong' with their car. This has been going on since the 70s. Nothing new here. @ brandloyalty: Eric Bryant clearly stated he was using the new recalculated EPA #s of the Mercury Marquis when he was comparing the 300's mileage.