By on September 10, 2017

fuel gauge

One of my guiltiest of pleasures is telling anyone trapped with me in a confined space for more than thirty seconds that practical fuel economy hasn’t improved in a meaningful way since 2014. While the EPA has raised corporate economy estimates, consumer spending has skewed toward larger and less economical models — invalidating the technological gains made in a vehicular catch-22.

However, some researchers have also begun calling the technologies focused on cutting emissions and saving fuel into question. We already know that lab tests can be gamed through clever engineering. But we don’t drive vehicles on a rolling road and the differences between the lab and the street are immense. Emissions Analytics, an independent company based in the United Kingdom, has tested more than 500 vehicles in the United States since 2013 and believes a change in testing venue can make all the difference.

The firm conducts real-world analyses under normal on-road driving conditions using portable testing gear. Its says its goal is to suss out which trends in the automotive space actually have a meaningful impact on economy — and which are bunk. 

According to Automotive News, Emissions Analytics plans to release its full findings on U.S. vehicles in early October. Nick Molden, the company’s founder and CEO, says EA wants to provide the public with an accurate and unbiased look into the true fuel economy and CO2 emissions of the vehicles they’re interested in and their true impact on the environment.

“You can only decide if you have the right information,” Molden explained to Automotive News. “The EPA sticker is — I would say — good up to a point, but we can give a lot more information.”

That sounds more like a sales pitch than anything else, but he may have a point. Turbochargers are wonderful creations but they don’t provide much in the way of fuel savings when you constantly hammer the throttle. EA is convinced that most lab testing doesn’t provide an authentic driving experience, where turbos would be allowed to spool more freely. It is also concerned that the growing industry trend toward smaller module engines is approaching a tipping point.

“Downsizing is a good thing up to a point,” Molden said. “You go past a certain inflection point and actually you can find that the real-world mpg will actually get worse if you go too small … As soon as you start going below 2 liters, that’s where we start seeing the gaps open up between EPA sticker and real world.”

Instead of relying on microscopic motors offset by forced induction, Molden says automakers would be better served by attempting to lighten vehicles utilizing hybridized powertrains. While that’s easier said than done in a society currently obsessed with SUVs and crossovers, an under-stressed engine will always perform better — regardless of size.

He also likes standard hybrids over plug-in EVs since they’re cheaper to produce and easier to live with. They’re also not incentivized by most governments, so their sales amid cheap gasoline reflect a baseline of sustainable market demand. Other technologies Emissions Analytics says it’s willing to openly endorse are multi-speed transmissions and tires that focus on efficiency, rather than dynamics or appearance.

“There’s so much good technology out there,” Molden said. “There are genuine efficiency improvements happening. The marketplace just needs to know so people can then choose the right vehicles when they’re in the showroom.”

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73 Comments on “Researcher Claims Real-World Economy and Lab Testing Are Miles Apart...”

  • avatar

    Buick Envision 2.0T sees 32 mpg at 65 mph, from a surprising EPA 26 mpg highway. So disappointing….

    • 0 avatar

      That’s not too uncommon to see a big difference in the EPA rated mileage.

      My car is rated for 21 highway and I can knock down 27 at around 60 mph on a fairly level stretch of road despite somewhat frenetic gearing.

    • 0 avatar

      The Buick Envision shouldn’t even be sold here. Made in China? What an insult to the American Auto Industry!

      • 0 avatar

        1975 called, and it wants its “Made in America” posturing back, especially re. GM passenger cars.

        (The American Auto Industry is fine, thanks.

        The UAW hates the idea, and they can go choke, after what they’ve done to the American Auto Industry.)

        • 0 avatar

          GM is the Chinese Auto Industry though, so supporting them has nothing to do with the state of the ‘American Auto Industry.’ Fiat is…Italian? Dutch? Definitely not American. That leaves Ford, unless you meant to include all the non-UAW-afflicted.

    • 0 avatar

      “Buick Envision 2.0T sees 32 mpg at 65 mph, from a surprising EPA 26 mpg highway. So disappointing….”

      Is that one of those clear title used Buicks that you think is exactly the same thing as a branded title Highlander?

      • 0 avatar

        So much more efficent than a Highlander Hybrid.

        • 0 avatar

          By “efficient” you mean “expensive to own”?

          Is that one of those clear title used Buicks that you think is exactly the same thing as a branded title Highlander?

          • 0 avatar

            Norm’s Chinese Envision could get 100mpg for all I care, I’d pick a Princeton Indiana-built Highlander any day of the week.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al From 'Murica

      Take your little Trifecta Tuned crapbox and drive it right up your kiester. Nobody’s buying your horsesheite

  • avatar

    “Downsizing is a good thing up to a point,” Molden said. “You go past a certain inflection point and actually you can find that the real-world mpg will actually get worse if you go too small … As soon as you start going below 2 liters, that’s where we start seeing the gaps open up between EPA sticker and real world.”

    I don’t think you need to go below 2 liters to see this effect. Engines have their efficiency sweet spot and if you push a smaller engine too hard the MPG suffers.

    An example I am familiar with is the 2009 RAV4. Both engines are NA.

    I4 2.5L 179HP MPG 22/28 curb weight 3300 lbs.

    V6 3.5L 269HP MPG 19/27 curb weight 3500 lbs.

    50% more HP, significantly more torque, 5% more weight and minimal difference in MPG on the highway.

    Why? Because the V6 power allows gearing to let it loaf along at highway speeds compared to the I4.

    • 0 avatar

      Not sure why this ended up here, was supposed to be a stand alone comment.

      The problem with real world testing is that everybody’s real world is different. We have had several vehicles that my Wife, my Son and I all used for daily drivers. While each of our tanks were very close to each other our paths, even though we took some of the same roads, were very different. My wife consistently got the worst MPG because at the point where my son and I were getting on the freeway she was a few blocks from her office and she did it in peak rush hour traffic. My son on the other hand left a couple of hours later, sailed through those lights my wife would wait for 3,4 or more cycles to get through and his office was just a few blocks from his exit. Now I would take that same path as my son but keep going past where he got off. I’d then have to travel a couple of miles off of the freeway and coming home there were a couple of lights that it would take 4,5 or more cycles to get through. So my son consistently got the best mileage out of any of us and I’d do better than my wife.

      There is an old saying, “Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely” My modern version for the automotive world is “Power corrupts, turbo power corrupts absolutely. Fact is many people report being disapointed in the MPG of their new Turbo ride initially and once the newness wears off and they return to their normal driving habits the mileage improves. I’m certain that wouldn’t be much different if you did it with a big NA engine that gave them significantly more power and torque than their old vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      Guitar man


      They’re still printing this old garbage…

      Firstly a turbocharged engine runs SLOWER than a NA engine putting out the same power.

      Secondly, ignition engines run MORE efficiently at high speed, the principal restriction being the lubrication of bearings, valve bounce and crankshaft deflection.

      A Datsun 120Y ran happily all day at 5000 rpm while using about half the fuel of a Kingswood at the same speed, and about 20% less than the Datsun 200B.

  • avatar

    Results for real-world vs. sticker seem to vary greatly by engine. Some Turobcharged small-displacement engines seem to perform better vs. the spec in real-world driving (e.g. Honda’s 1.5T mill) But yes, some don’t perform quite so well (*cough* EcoBoost *cough*)

  • avatar

    “lighten vehicles utilizing hybridized powertrains”?! Have these folks ever looked at a hybrid powertrain? Weight is not where they have their advantage.

    • 0 avatar

      Which is why there’s room for lightening them.

      • 0 avatar

        IMHO, lightness might not be as vital for hybrid cars. They can recapture much of their momentum with regenerative braking. My Ford C-Max grades my braking, and usually my gradual, even style returns an over-90% score for each stop. (I din’t imagine that I’ll ever recover that much total momentum as energy, buy the score shows a percentage of the maximum possible energy recapture). This car is no lightweight: with its plug-in battery and me inside, it probably weighs two tons. But it’s returning excellent mileage, something over 45 mpg even excluding miles driven on the plug-in power.

        All that “road-hugging weight” probably DQs my car from the autocross, but it does give it a remarkably good ride and stable feel. I don’t think I would trade that for an extra 5 mpg.

      • 0 avatar

        @stuki, they have their advantage primarily in reducing an engine down to “a bit above cruising load” from “whatever it takes for people to be happy with the half-throttle 40-70 run.” This is a massive decrease in engine power output, and therefore engine parasitic loads, cooling loads, etc. That’s worth adding a lot of weight for. (especially since adding weight doesn’t seem to hurt quite as badly as people scream it does – compare your mileage solo vs. with 4 friends in the car)

        Once you’re at that point, most efficiency gains are marginal. Better to make a hybrid pickup than kill yourself eking out an extra 10% on an already highly efficient Prius.

        • 0 avatar

          Well there is only a about 200 pound difference between a mdx sh awd and a mdx hybrid sport awd. The hybrid gets almost 100 more miles of range, more hp and is rated at 26 city mpg vs 19 of the gas version

        • 0 avatar

          That brings up an interesting question.

          What *is* the cooling load of your everyday internal combustion engine?

          I mean, moving that water pump ain’t free, but what does it actually do, in terms of power usage?

  • avatar

    My milage differs from EPA and computer readout and fillups. Also since moving to the mountains of California with more in town and up and down the Sierras with 91 octane instead of 93 my milage has gone down a few mpg from what I got in rural Texas with mostly 60 mph highway driving. As they say, “your milage will vary.”

    • 0 avatar

      Our 2015 Terrain 2.4l manage to show last 50 mile average of 46 mpg coming down from Vail at 10,000 feet. I had it in ECO mode it works great on down the mountain passes but over 6,000 at 80+ did not matter much without ECO selected.

  • avatar

    It’s hard to say what they meant here: “lighten vehicles or use hybridized powertrains”? Or really “lighten vehicles using hybridized powertrains”? Because the Prius goes much further than other hybrids to reduce weight, and the results explain a lot of what some people don’t like about Prii.

  • avatar
    Esophagus Cancer Survivor

    My measured, lifetime fuel economy for my 2001 Prius was 50 mpg.

    • 0 avatar

      When I commuted with a Prius, I also achieved 50 MPG, or slightly less.

      Big engines with some good technology can return excellent mileage. My C7 gives 30 plus on the highway with speeds in the 65 to 70 range. AFM works very well.

      • 0 avatar

        Modern Corvettes with the LSx engines have always returned great fuel economy, but not because of the engine itself. Its the gearing (final overdrive/ 5th and 6th in the manual; rear differential) that allows it to return great highway fuel economy. While yes, you could argue that it is the engine’s power that allows it to run the gears does.

  • avatar

    I usually get very close to the EPA numbers, but it’s never exactly that. And it’s because I’m usually faster on the highway than what they test at or because where I live there are many hills and traffic lights. But it’s close enough that it’s not worth complaining about. Our Mazda 5 averages 19 mpg in town, about 3 under EPA rating. Same with my Cruze and our Sienna, about 3 mpg under.

    It’s a fairly large difference but not unexpected because of the terrain and traffic. After all, it’s “Your Actual Mileage May Vary”. If I drive in the flatlands or steady 60 mph, then it’s pretty close to the sticker.

  • avatar

    Logic? Research? Evidence? Don’t you be bringin’ that stuff ’round here.

  • avatar

    The idea that fuel economy gains go up “forever” is a fantasy. We’re starting to hit a wall and the law of diminishing returns unless you want a dramatic change in the sort of vehicles we allow people to buy.

    But regardless, the fact that EPA ratings represent the “ideal” performance makes perfect sense to me. There’s simply too many variables for “real world” tests. How many stops do you make, how many passengers, what is the temperature, how much AC, what kind of tires, what is the air pressure, how much traffic, and on and on.

    So they take a relatively ideal number for performance and let consumers compare and make up their mind.

    I have a bumper to bumper commute, and it would be ridiculous to make “my” commute the EPA number for the vehicle.

    I guess some people want “real world” testing in the hope it forces the automakers to make their car’s more fuel efficient.

    • 0 avatar

      The best the EPA can try to do is provide a consistent basis for comparison between different vehicles. If by choosing those standards, some powerplant or fuel types are favored or handicapped, that’s a problem to be worked out.

    • 0 avatar

      I agree with you, however, if manufacturers can and do game the system how can you trust the results? I’m sure it’s not just diesels that cheat.

  • avatar

    I fail to understand why this is an issue. Everyone by now should know, the sticker numbers probably don’t match any given driver’s real world numbers.

    And they’re not intended to. Never were.

    Those EPA numbers were derived from a common set of tests, to normalize the numbers, which puts ALL vehicles on a level playing field–and that means that consumers can compare the numbers, knowing how cars perform relative to one another.

    And that’s ALL one can do, from a scientific standpoint. Nobody can compare a Buick being driven by grandma with a Civic being driven by her grandson. But you can look at the EPA numbers and know something about how they compare with each other.

    • 0 avatar

      This is really it. It was never intended to give 100% accurate real world results.

      Let’s put it this way. Think of emissions as college admissions. EPA numbers are like SAT scores. Everyone takes the same test under the same conditions and it allows comparison of all applicants regardless of where they went to high school. Real world numbers are like GPAs, there are many variables and conditions at play.

    • 0 avatar

      But EPA tests don’t help consumers with comparing relative mpg differences between vehicles. Anywhere outside of lab tests with little real world carryover.

      The tests are a bit like trying to estimate relative differences in how good two football linemen are, by simply putting them on a scale and weighing them. While the test originally may have had some merit; sorting the big, strong guys from the pencilnecks; the test is pretty easy to game by simply showing up to weigh-in with a bunch of fatsos. Ditto for the EPA tests. Just bring in VW style ECU optimizations, and tune forced induction to stay in “economy” mode for exactly the EPA test. Then, as soon as power demand exceeds the EPA test’s by 1 hp, toss a match in the gastank and burn it wholesale.

      • 0 avatar


        I never trusted EPA ratings for comparison because the test vehicles and the test parameters are too controlled. The options on the vehicle, and the environment variables imposed by the EPA creates an environment where the engineers want to beat the system rather than meet the standards. The vehicle I buy will never be the one they use for the tests.

    • 0 avatar

      Well some magazines can do their own fuel economy testing like Motor Trend and CR. Motor Trend found the 2017 CR-V 1.5T EPA numbers in the city were too high. Is Honda cooking the books?

      This 1.5T CR-V AWD at 34 mpg highway is still short of my 2013 Encore 1.4T AWD’S 39 mpg at 60 mph on a full tank.

    • 0 avatar

      I was seeing 32 mpg on county roads in Mom’s LaCrosse 2.4l, non-eAssist. That is with three aboard.

  • avatar

    I always seem to at least meet the EPA mileage on my vehicles, and generally beat it. Escaping from Irma, I drove my ’17 GTI from Port Charlotte FL to Knoxville TN – ~750 miles. Hours of stop and go, lots of 50mph slog, but 80mph from Atlanta to Knoxville for the most part. Managed a hand calculated 37.5mpg for the trip. But I generally drive very mildly as far as acceleration, I try to time lights, ride out standing waves in traffic, etc.

    The secret with turbos is use the torque and shift really, really early. This is also why I believe that automatics exaggerate mpg on the tests, while manuals get better mileage in the real world as long as the overall gearing is reasonably tall. The GTI is perfectly happy to pull 4th gear at 25mph, and roll along in 6th at 35. On the other hand, as I got tired (we drove from 1pm to 6:30am) I found it was too easy to find myself at 65mph in 4th and not realize it until I noticed the 4->6 message on the display. Almost too quiet and refined.

    • 0 avatar

      “But I generally drive very mildly as far as acceleration, I try to time lights, ride out standing waves in traffic, etc.”

      I don’t drive mildly (I do a lot of full-throttle starts) but I do time lights, coast, ride out standing waves (to the extent that traffic allows me), etc. I get good fuel economy overall on a variety of vehicles, turbo/super/NA.

      Hard acceleration won’t necessarily hurt your economy too much, it depends on the vehicle (if it goes to super rich at WOT it might). Fast acceleration *can* be more economical than slow acceleration in some vehicles due to lower pumping losses, etc. But that’s assuming that you would have accelerated up to the same speed. Hard acceleration followed immediately by braking is definitely wasteful.

      “The secret with turbos is use the torque and shift really, really early. This is also why I believe that automatics exaggerate mpg on the tests, while manuals get better mileage in the real world as long as the overall gearing is reasonably tall.”

      You can easily take advantage of this with a (good) automatic transmission as long as you know how to operate it. Most automatics will not kick down unless you either press the pedal in quickly or depress it almost all the way. So if you’re gentle with your foot movements, you can go WOT in a tall gear for gentle to moderate acceleration.

      For example, with my wife’s Escape, I’ve learned to climb shallow to moderate hills with this technique and it will pull quite hard at 1200-1500rpm in sixth. You can still get it to kick down if you really want to but it often isn’t necessary. This might be part of why we get decent economy despite my jackrabbit starts.

      • 0 avatar

        Car and Driver did a good little test on a hybrid Lexus CUV a few
        years ago and saw the following results after accelerating to 40 mph
        and then holding speed for a lap around a circular track.

        Very gentle acceleration: 34.1 mpg
        Medium acceleration: 33.5 mpg
        Full-power acceleration: 27.5 mpg

        Still, the test is somewhat biased toward gentle acceleration. Even
        the minor difference between gentle and medium acceleration is skewed, since they got to the end considerably quicker when they accelerated faster. If they corrected for that effect by coasting at the end or making minor speed alterations so that the lap times were identical, quicker acceleration may have actually used less fuel to get to the same point in the same amount of time.

        To me, the most surprising result was the effect of speed on fuel economy at below-highway speeds.

        40 mph: 49.3 mpg
        50 mph: 41.0 mpg
        60 mph: 37.2 mpg
        70 mph: 31.7 mpg
        80 mph: 26.1 mpg

        No need to avoid rapid acceleration. I regularly go over 6000 rpm at WOT and always accelerate quickly – skipping into the tallest possible gear once I’m up to speed – assuming there’s nobody in front of me and nothing to stop for ahead. Yet my average fuel economy in the 13 years I’ve owned this Mazda3 is better than the EPA highway rating. I do tend to stay close to the speed limit on the highway and freeway unless I’m passing.

        • 0 avatar

          You can’t use a hybrid as an example. Under light acceleration the car is motivated by both engine and battery; under hard acceleration it is the gasoline engine that contributes most of the power.

  • avatar

    The EPA figures are best used to compare two vehicles, side by side. The problem with using the figures as predictive for your individual mileage is the many variances. To me, the biggest variance is the EPA “City” cycle doesn’t come close to duplicating the hellish commute that is Los Angeles’ surface streets. Trying to factor in the “stopped” portion of one’s ride with a MPG of zero is impossible. While my 2016 Genesis will get about 30 MPG on the highway, daily commuting on surface streets yields about 14 MPG. Interestingly, the computer tells me that my average speed, over months, is 14 MPH. Try that in your simulation Mr. EPA!
    For my commute, the only real improvement would be electric, either hybrid or full on electric.

    • 0 avatar

      A hybrid would definitely boost your commuting MPG significantly.

      It is important to note that the city portion of the EPA test was derived from what some people in CARB and EPA determined was the “average commute through LA surface streets”. Of course that was over 40 years ago.

      Ford has started including hour meters on many of their commercial and fleet vehicles and for oil change intervals they state that one hour of idling is the equivalent of 33 miles. My Grand Marquis would regularly report that I averaged 31-35 MPH.

      So going by that you may want to consider shorter oil change intervals.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    The average vehicle speed in the EPA’s highway test protocol is 48 mph.

    We can start by changing that.

    And the comments about hybrids vs EVs are bunk. Hybrid sales are way down with cheap gas.

  • avatar

    Sometimes real-world mileage is not a bad thing. I get 35ish mpg on the freeway very frequently in my ’13 200, which was advertised for 31 mpg with the stalwart 2.4L World engine. It’s a great commuter.

    I’ve seen 22 mpg on my ’06 Ram CTD, 16 when towing ~10k. Not bad, and hey, not a mod one done on this rig. All stock and proud of it. There aren’t too many unmolested 5.9’s out there.

  • avatar

    I know you want a level field for comparison, but it does really quite bug me when numbers in the real world are way off.

    For example, did anyone in the previous generation Chevy Equinox/GMC Terrain ever hit the EPA highway number?

    Consumer Reports returned 44mpg average in a Mazda6, in a car rated at 35mpg. Honda also seems to often exceed EPA in the real world, and Ford Ecoboost do not. Or why does a 5 Series BMW I6 seem to do so well while a Cadillac V6 does so poorly?

    Something is “wrong” in the system. I get automakers trying to pump up the numbers, for CAFE reasons and for marketing purposes. But its also deceptive (even if the EPA numbers are “true” from the test) to say a car will get something that it is actually almost never capable of achieving.

    I’m not sure there is a better answer. Something like Fuelly can maybe be helpful, except how do you account for differences in driving styles across vehicle models? Someone driving Mazdas or BMW for example might simply be more prone to aggressive driving than a Lexus or Buick driver. So I’m not sure even real world averages would be the way to go.

    Maybe the best we can do is go into it not expecting a particular number, but just know you’re car is gonna “guzzle, sip, be fairly OK” kinda thing and you just accept what you get?

  • avatar

    I certainly find it extremely easy to beat EPA fuel economy numbers with a manual. Just avoid spending 15 seconds slowly accelerating in first gear to 3500 rpm, and get into fifth or sixth when they’re still in third.

  • avatar
    George B

    My main complaint is that the EPA “Highway” number is useless for comparing fuel economy at the actual posted speed limit on rural interstates in the United States. If the test included aerodynamic drag at 75 mph, it would be much easier to see roughly how vehicles compare. I regularly beat the Accord 36 mpg highway fuel economy on I-35…with a 20 mph tail wind. Headed into the wind I’ve see highway fuel economy drop into the high 20s. It’s all about how fast you’re moving relative to the air you’re trying to push through.

  • avatar

    I’ve never been huge on fuel economy, but when we made our first ever “practical purchase” of a minivan a couple years ago, it definitely figured into the calculation for 10-year ownership costs. The fact that it touted 28mpg highway and 20-22 in the city was a huge help.

    The reality is that mixed driving in the summer is more like 16-17mpg, and long roadtrips are more like 22-23mpg. Yes, you can see 28-30mpg for short stints of very flat, smooth roads while going exactly 65-70mph, but that’s due to an excessively tall 6th gear and cylinder deactivation — two things that, much like avoiding turbo boost, aren’t very practical in everyday driving.

    Yes, I have a big beef with all these manufacturers “training for the test” but ultimately this is the EPA’s fault for making such a subjective test.

    My solution: Just show me several objective numbers — for highway, how about actual mpg at 55, 65, and 75 mph based on a perfectly flat road in specific weather conditions. If the EPA set up a simple test track in the American Southwest, it would be pretty easy to replicate the weather most of the year. And no cheating — every car must be tested and none can serve as a proxy for another.

  • avatar

    It took a research company four years (and how much money??) to determine what should be readily seen as a common sense answer? How you drive and in what conditions you drive determines actual mileage. Mind. Blown.

    Sorry, sometimes a basic pencil is really all you need instead of a million-dollar pen. I need to get on a government grant list to conduct studies like this.

  • avatar

    It’s like Common Core standardized testing, the carmakers are judged on how well the cars perform on the EPA standardized tests, so they teach to the test, not to how well their cars perform in the real world.

  • avatar

    I put a high lift cam (awesome idle now) in my LS3 motor and changed the rear end from 3.73 gears to 4.11 gears. Motor went from 426hp stock to 560hp and mileage is 22mpg highway at 80mph. No replacement for displacement!

    • 0 avatar

      Of course there’s a replacement for displacement. It’s called supercharging.

      My S/C Coyote has 20% less displacement than an LS3 (5l vs 6.2l), makes 670HP (+20%) and gets 32mpg highway at 70mph (the maximum legal speed here).

  • avatar

    I guess this story is kind of stating the obvious. The EPA themselves specifically state that the numbers are an average based on their testing and that it will vary based on driving conditions.

    But it really varies depending on the driver and how they operate the vehicle. I was never able to beat the EPA estimate on my mom’s Plymouth Sundance back on the mid-90’s. The car had no cruise control and the EPA’s testing was different, but such a small car should have been able to easily beat its 32mg hwy rating….but it was more like 28-29mpg? And I have never been heavy on the throttle with any car.

    But my last two vehicles (1996 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme, Audi Q7)have readily beat the EPA estimates. I usually got mid 30’s mpg on the Olds on the highway, and low 20’s in the city for an avg of about 24 mpg. It was rated 20/29 city/hwy when new.

    In the Q7, I get about 16 city, and 23 hwy for a vehicle that was rated 14/19 when new with the engine I have. On long highway trips, depending on terrain (flat is always better of course) I can usually get 500+ miles to a tank, which is great.

    What’s changed the most since I was a younger driver is I no longer live in the mountains of PA with 4 real seasons, the higher percentage of highway miles I do these days, and the time and budget to keep up with regular maintenance like fluids, tires, etc.

    But if I grew up in say….Iowa and then moved to PA or northern AZ or something, my experience would be likely reversed and I’d probably wonder why I could never beat the EPA estimates now when I could as a teen.

    So, sure, more data can hopefully give more accurate results overall……but there is no way to ever give someone an accurate estimate of what they will get because there are too many variables, including their behavior as a driver, that a lab or even real world testing can never fully account for.

  • avatar

    As an aside, we should remember that “true fuel economy and CO2 emissions of the vehicles” is basically a redundancy.

    Fuel economy and CO2 emissions (barring CO2 capture at the tailpipe, which is ridiculous) are … the same thing.

    Not literally the same output number, but linearly linked and inescapably so, given full combustion, which we basically have these days.

    CO2 out the back is carbon from the fuel with oxygen from the air, simple (ish) chemistry.

    N gallons of gasoline burnt will give you pretty close to M pounds of CO2 out the back, and a similarly constant, but different, number if the input stock is diesel.

  • avatar

    Yet another thing is the MT vs AT. No matter one’s driving style, mpgs will be better with MT (despite automakers shenanigans to mess with gear ratios to the detriment of MT). I average 35+ (at the pump) from 2l 02 ZX3. 2l 16 GTI nets 40. The perfect downsizing example was my 1.8l 15 Golf. That thing routinely averaged 45 (again, all measurements at the pump, no computer readout trickery). Technically the Golf and GTI are identical vehicles (particularly in the trim I got them) so the .2l difference and higher gearing in Golf really made difference (and I could not complain on performance outside tricky to master 1st gear).
    Now, I’d not touch Honda with 1.5l. No idea who came out with idea to put that thing into a whale like CRV. Same with regard to Chevy.

  • avatar

    Nothing kills real world MPG faster than short trips on a cold engine in an over-engineered city full of unnecessary four-way stop signs. When I drove a Hyundai Elantra under these conditions, not even the most delicate hyper-miling techniques could get me anywhere near the official City rating.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s pretty funny that the left pretends to care about resources and then traffic calms the hellholes they infest into permanent grid lock through unnecessary traffic controls and intentionally bad light timing. Air quality suffers when average speed drops to a jogging pace. Even EVs waste energy when they dedicate more of their power draw to climate control than propulsion.

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