EPA Proposes New Test Methods for Fuel Economy Stickers

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The environmental protection agency is proposing new testing methods for calculating fuel economy estimates -- which would take effect on 2008 model vehicles.
City and highway miles per gallon estimates have been provided by the EPA since the 1970s and they were last revised in 1984.The EPA proposal would reflect changing driving conditions to provide a more accurate estimate for consumers.
The proposed change in testing methods would take into account real life driving situations, such as higher speed limits, more traffic congestion, and use of accessories like air conditioners.
It is predicted that vehicles and driving habits will change significantly in the next five years than it has in the last 20 years.
"With new changes in technology, how we monitor and deliver fuel to the engine and with the onset of hybrid vehicles, the EPA is probably going to want to consider updating the way they measure fuel economy more often than they have in the past," said Brian Gerrits of Chippewa Valley Technical College.
Fuel economy estimates would be lower for most vehicles under the new testing methods. City MPG estimates for conventional vehicles would drop about 10-20 percent from today's labels and highway estimates would drop by 5-15 percent.
Hybrid vehicles would take the hardest hit with a 20-30 percent drop, but this may not stop customers from purchasing these vehicles.
"They by hybrids because they're the cutting edge technology, because they're environmentally friendly and the fuel economy being better than the average car," said Peter Taylor of Markquart Toyota in Eau Claire.
Of course there is no test that can perfectly estimate fuel economy that every driver will get. A driver's actual fuel economy will most likely vary from what is listed on the sticker, but the new proposal aims to do a more thorough job of depicting estimates for the way we drive.