EPA: Blame Ford, Not Us, For C-Max Hybrids Not Reaching Mileage Ratings

TTAC Staff
by TTAC Staff
epa blame ford not us for c max hybrids not reaching mileage ratings

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.”

Join the conversation
2 of 71 comments
  • Pch101 Pch101 on Aug 27, 2013

    I would presume that the problem is that the EPA test cycle is too short to accurately calculate the mileage of the CMAX and Fusion. Ford's system differs from Toyota. Ford's setup relies more heavily on battery-only operating modes. Longer drives will deplete more battery power, which would cause the gas engine to operate more during the later part of a given drive than at the beginnning. The EPA city test starts with a cold engine and covers 11 miles. The highway test has a hot engine and covers 10.3 miles. The other supplementary tests are similarly short. Presumably, the tests are conducted with a fresh battery. I would bet that the results would be different if the test cycles were similar to what they are now, but covered longer distances, such as 50+ miles each. A longer test should remove some of the variation that comes from the battery's varying states of charge. Toyota's system makes more use of the gas engine. That makes the results more predictable, since the EPA test is measuring gasoline usage, not total energy usage. That's not necessarily better or worse, but it does make for more accurate testing.

  • Papaj1 Papaj1 on Sep 04, 2013

    Ford has now adjusted its C-Max EPA numbers to 45 city, 40 highway and is sending current owners a check for $550. The C-Max' fuel economy is HIGHLY dependent on driving style. It is quite possible to reach or exceed the EPA numbers. In town the trick is to accelerate slowly & maximize regenerative braking. On the interstate the car will get about 43 MPG cruising at 69 MPH -- any faster than that and mileage drops down into the high 30s. I routinely get mileage in the mid-50s on around-town drives, this is where the car really shines.

  • Jamie Electric cars and their planet stripping unsustainable mineral needs. Nothing is perfect.....
  • Tom Kenney Wondering the same. It's getting late for 2024....I should scoop up a 2023 3.3t now.
  • Ja-GTI My father bought one of these new in '75, when I was an inquisitive lad of six with a younger sister of four. I showed her how to open the rear hatch, and then I noticed a convenient pull-down handle on the bottom of the rear parcel shelf. I couldn't reach it from the ground, so I climbed in the back, pulled on the handle, and quite suddenly shut the hatch on top of me. The four year-old sister couldn't follow my frantic instruction on how to open the hatch - she eventually left to go to our neighbor's house to "get some cookies", and I spent the next several hours having a very bad time.Finally, the older nine year-old sister came home from school and was showing the new car to a friend when she heard me yelling and freed me from my VW prison. Thankfully, I overcame my childhood PTSD and ended up owning an '07 GTI for fourteen years - which gave me another type of PTSD. And my VW circle of life is now complete. Well, except for the '15 Jetta TDI manual I bought for my son...
  • Inside Looking Out In America non-violent crime is legalized in 2020 but in England not. That guy in America would be considered as the pillar of society. Wild west you know,
  • El scotto Having really bad SATO flashbacks. Someone from Alamo would stop by the SATO office and stuff some display rack with 10$ off at Alamo! coupons. Off on another mission for Truth, Justice, and the American Way of Life! Well OK, I was off to talk to some tech reps. Riding the shuttle bus to Alamo I inwardly prayed please, oh please may there be a Neon and not a damn Sebring! Neons were by and far one of the best cheap rental cars.