View Full Version : Car mpg ratings going down

02-25-2007, 11:18 AM

By James R. Healey, USA TODAY
Fuel-saving gasoline-electric hybrid cars don't save as much fuel as thought, according to new government fuel-economy ratings available to the public for the first time.
The new ratings go into effect beginning with 2008 models, a few of which will soon be on sale. But now it's possible to tell what rating 2007 and older models would get using the '08 standards.

The government's fuel-economy website has a program than makes the comparison. Click on the button that says "Compare Old and New MPG Ratings." It shows that vehicles typically bought for their fuel efficiency use significantly more fuel than the previous ratings have said.

Toyota's (TM) Prius, best-known and best-selling gas-electric car in the USA, drops to 48 miles per gallon in the city under the '08 testing procedure, from a 60 mpg rating under the current system a 20% decline. Its highway mileage rating falls about 12%, to 45 mpg.

The Ford (F) Escape hybrid, which uses a gasoline-electric drive system similar to Toyota's, goes down about 12%.

"What the cars get hasn't changed. It's just the numbers on the sticker," says Toyota spokesman Mike Michels. The lowered Prius rating is "probably more reflective of real-world experience," he says. "We hear people getting 46 to 50. I have one, and I get 48.

"If the (new) numbers contribute to customer satisfaction, that's a good thing," Michels says.

"I got near 60 (mpg) on the first tank, then never anywhere near that after," says Martha Ehrenfeld, a teacher who lives in San Francisco. The 48 mpg rating "makes me feel better, because that's about what I get. I was wondering what I was doing wrong. It's still better than most cars."

Tests the government has used for mileage estimates were created in the 1970s and haven't reflected today's driving environment. They have assumed, for instance, that people don't use air conditioning and don't drive more than about 60 mph.

After years of complaints from motorists and environmental activists that the Environmental Protection Agency estimates were too optimistic, the agency announced last year that it had come up with tests that include faster driving speeds, quicker acceleration, hotter and colder temperatures, and the use of air conditioning. It said it expected mileage numbers to drop about 10% when all types of vehicles and drivetrains were considered.

The change is good news for hybrid owners, says Bradley Berman, editor of HybridCars.com and owner of a 2006 Prius and 2003 Civic (HMC) hybrid.

"It's great that consumers will have a better sense of what they may expect on the road," he says. Berman says he gets gas mileage in the 40s on his Prius in short city drives near his Berkeley, Calif., home and a bit less on his Civic.

Contributing: Chris Woodyard

Combined city-highway fuel economy ratings for the top 20 selling vehicles in the U.S. in January:

Vehicle Engine Old MPG New MPG % difference

Ford F - Series 5.4L, 8-cyl 16 15 -6.3%

Chevrolet Silverado 5.3L, 8-cyl 18 16 -11.1%

Toyota Camry 2.4L, 4-cyl 27 24 -11.1%

Dodge Ram 5.7L, 8-cyl 17 15 -11.8%

Honda Civic 1.8L, 4-cyl 33 29 -12.1%

Honda Accord 2.4L, 4-cyl 28 25 -10.7%

Toyota Corolla 1.8L, 4-cyl 33 29 -12.1%

Chevrolet TrailBlazer 4.2L, 6-cyl 18 16 -11.1%

Chevrolet Impala 3.5L, 6-cyl 24 22 -8.3%

Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.7L, 6-cyl 19 17 -10.5%

GMC Sierra 5.3L, 8-cyl 18 16 -11.1%

Hyundai Sonata 2.5L, 4-cyl 27 24 -11.1%

Dodge Caravan 2.4L, 4-cyl 22 20 -9.1%

Ford Explorer 4.0L, 6-cyl 18 16 -11.1%

Honda Pilot 3.5L, 6-cyl 20 18 -10.0%

Nissan Altima 2.5L, 4-cyl 29 26 -10.3%

Jeep Liberty 3.7L, 6-cyl 19 17 -10.5%

Chevrolet Cobalt 2.4L, 4-cyl 27 25 -7.4%

Honda Odyssey 3.5L, 6-cyl 20 18 -10.0%

Chrysler Town & Country 3.3L, 6-cyl 21 19 -9.5%

Note: The fuel economy ratings are based on vehicles with automatic transmission and two wheel drive. Source: Department of Energy, Autodata


Gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles, often bought because of their striking fuel-economy ratings, are big losers under more realistic mileage tests the government mandates beginning with 2008 models. Drops in fuel economy ratings for combined city-highway driving:

Vehicle Old mpg New mpg Difference

Toyota Prius 55 46 -16.4%

Honda Civic hybrid 50 42 -16.0%

Toyota Camry hybrid 39 34 -12.8%

Ford Escape hybrid FWD 34 30 -11.8%

Saturn Vue 29 26 -10.3%

Source: Department of Energy For a list of new fuel economy ratings for 20 popular vehicles, go to: money.usatoday.com

02-25-2007, 11:25 AM
Of course, gasoline-fueled cars don't "save" as much as once thought either, and still get their asses kicked in mpg by hybrids.

02-25-2007, 11:50 AM
But the Hybrids use less overall fuel.....by running on electric alot.

Not sure you can even include Hybrids in this.

another way to manipulate stats.

02-25-2007, 11:53 AM
Oh No's! I guess this is bad news for my Ford Super Duty truck with the V-10 huh? ;)

02-25-2007, 11:57 AM
Of course, gasoline-fueled cars don't "save" as much as once thought either, and still get their asses kicked in mpg by hybrids.

I noticed that too ... pretty much every make/model went down 10-12%, yet the article focuses primarily on hybrids - and points to hybrids in general as the "big losers" just because two hybrids were at the top of the list (not a big surprise since those were - and still are - the two models with the highest listed mpg to begin with). It's subtle bias, but does leave the casual reader with the impression that hybrids aren't as efficient as people thought.

Ultra Peanut
02-25-2007, 12:06 PM
large earthen beams
monoliths (inscribed)
message chambers for complex information
buried message disks (e.g., clay, glass)

02-25-2007, 03:00 PM
The message is clear. STFD, STFU and buy a Denali, bitch.