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Estimates On Average Car & Truck MPG Much Worse Than EPA Says

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hatrack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 11:33 AM
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Estimates On Average Car & Truck MPG Much Worse Than EPA Says
Edited on Wed Apr-07-04 11:33 AM by hatrack
If you think the fuel economy of U.S. vehicles is dismal, well, you're right. Perhaps more right than you know.

Official U.S. EPA statistics ascribe a pathetic average of 20.8 miles per gallon to the 2003 car fleet, about 6 percent lower than 15 years ago. The fleet averaged 22.1 mpg in 1987, before Americans got hooked on gas-guzzling SUVs. But according to the enviro group Bluewater Network, the actual fuel economy of America's cars and light trucks is as much as 20 percent lower than the EPA claims. The Bush administration last week agreed to look into the issue, as a belated response to a petition filed in June 2002 by the group -- but cynics can be forgiven for questioning just how hard they'll look.

Here's the problem: The EPA's gas-mileage tests of new vehicle models -- conducted in labs rather than on roads -- are based on methods and criteria developed 20 years ago and long since obsolete, according to Bluewater Executive Director Russell Long. The result, he says, is that the EPA's estimates of fuel economy are significantly more optimistic than what most drivers actually experience in the real world.

"The traffic patterns today are totally different than they were two decades ago, and this has serious impacts on a car's fuel economy," Long says. For example, ubiquitous urban congestion has resulted in more idling and start-and-stop driving, and average highway driving speeds have increased -- all leading to higher fuel consumption. (Get the nitty-gritty on problems with the current testing model in the 2002 Bluewater report "Fuel Economy Falsehoods" .) Nonetheless, the EPA's misoverestimated fuel-economy numbers appear on labels affixed to every new car on the sales lot."

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sybylla Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 11:49 AM
Response to Original message
1. All I know is that the label on my 2002 Grand Prix lied big-time
My combined city/hwy mileage equals the low-end estimate and I have never gotten more than 26mpg when the high was supposed to be 29mpg. It's been much more than a gas guzzler than I bargained for.
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Ricdude Donating Member (218 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 12:45 PM
Response to Original message
2. Tips for maximizing fuel economy
1) Don't drive so fast. Wind resistance becomes the dominant friction force around 45 mph, and goes up with the cube (i.e v*v*v) of velocity. I dropped my highway speed from 80 to 70, and get about 5% better mileage as a result.

2) Don't accelerate so quickly. Generating power to accelerate quickly uses more fuel than accelerating slowly. It's one thing if you need to merge into faster traffic, its another if you do it all the time.

3) Coast where possible. By coasting up to stoplights, and when approaching turns, I acheived another 5% increase in fuel economy.

4) Keep tires properly inflated. The extra contact area from underinflated tires increases rolling friction, and reduces mileage.

I drive a '03 VW New Beetle, with the TDI (diesel) engine, and regularly get 45-48 mpg mixed city/hwy driving. I go about 650-700 miles on 14-15 gallons of fuel. If I drive the extra distance, I can do so on renewable biodiesel, grown by my local farmers. If fuel prices keep going up, there won't be much difference between petrodiesel and biodiesel for long.

The sticker from my car says 42 city/49 hwy. If I could keep my speed down to 65 mph, I could probably crack 50 mpg. I know some people who drive really slow all the time (i.e. never break 55 even on the highway), that regularly do 60 mpg and better.
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NNadir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 10:28 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. I do all this stuff but thanx for posting it. Many people forget or just
don't know.
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dfong63 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 01:17 PM
Response to Original message
3. my '01 honda civic got a real-world 40+ mpg at the last fillup
... in mixed driving.

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Kool Kitty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 08:57 PM
Response to Original message
4. Between this article and the other one about the mercury
report, can someone please tell me why the fuck we even have an EPA anymore? Whatever they decide, the WH just changes. Or they don't even listen to any of the scientists, unless they are scientists that work for industry, of course. So what's the point?
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