"Real World" Driving Tests Show Current EPA Miles Per Gallon Estimates Are Outdated, Auto Club Says

Automotive

(Los Angeles, March 3, 2005) — Each year, Automobile Club of Southern California and AAA car review experts test new vehicle models under "real world" driving conditions and come to the same conclusion as many motorists — the actual miles per gallon achieved during the daily use of a vehicle generally falls well short of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates. These driving tests found dozens of examples where vehicle miles per gallon of on 2003 and 2004 model years were overestimated because of outdated 30-year-old EPA tests.

To address this issue, the Auto Club joined AAA today to announce its support of the "Fuel Efficiency Truth-in-Advertising Act of 2005" that would require EPA to update its miles per gallon testing procedures. The legislation has bi-partisan support in the United States Congress and is sponsored by U.S. Representative Nancy Johnson (R-CT) and U.S. Representative Rush Holt (D-NJ).

"New car buyers soon see that their experience with mileage often falls short of EPA estimates," said Steve Mazor, principal automotive engineer. "It's not a case of 'your mileage results may vary.' We know that, in most cases, 'your results WILL vary.'"

In its analysis, AAA cited mpg in its test drives of some of the most popular vehicles driven today that were significantly lower than EPA city estimates. (See examples below.)

Although the AAA test drives are neither standardized nor scientific, the nation's organization for motorists says its "real world" driving trips may be more meaningful to consumers as they make car-buying decisions. AAA's testers put vehicles through a range of driving cycles that include stop-and-go traffic, climbing steep grades, trips to the grocery and a combination of both highway and city driving

The current EPA tests were established in the late 1970s and do not take into account higher speed limits on many interstates and increased congestion nationwide. The tests are even conducted with the air conditioner off.

"We believe consumers should have the most accurate information possible when it comes to expected gas mileage of the vehicles they purchase," said Mazor. "This would be accomplished by requiring EPA to use real-world tests in setting federal mileage estimates."

VehicleYearEPA
City
EPA
Highway
AAA
Estimate
BMW Z-403212915
BMW Z-404212914.5
CHEV TRAIL BLAZER03152113.9
CHEV TRAIL BLAZER04152113.6
CHEV S-1003172315
CHRYSLER PT CRUISER03202617.5
CHRYSLER PT CRUISER04212917.5
CRYSLER SEBRING LXI03202918.9
DODGE NEON03283524
DODGE NEON04273324
GMC SIERRA03162115.3
GMC SONOMA03162115.4
HONDA INSIGHT03617058
HONDA INSIGHT 04616858.1
HONDA ELEMENT04212520.4
INFINITI M4504172316.9
JEEP GRAND CHEROKEE03152014.5
JEEP GRAND CHEROKEE04152114.5
JEEP WRANGLER03192118
JEEP WRANGLER04192018
LEXUS LX 47003131610.8
LEXUS LX 47004131710.8
MAZDA TRIBUTE03202419.1
MERCURY GRAND MRQ03182617.9
MERCURY MOUNTNR03162114.2
MITSUBISHI MONTERO03151914
MITSUBISHI MONTERO04151914
MONTERO SPORT03172015
MONTERO SPORT04172015
NISSAN ALTIMA03232922.3
NISSAN ALTIMA04232922.3
NISSAN PATHFNDER03161915.2
NISSAN PATHFNDER04162115.2
TOYOTA ECHO03344132
TOYOTA ECHO04354332
TOYOTA TUNDRA03141712.9
TOYOTA 4RUNNER04182117.8
TOYOTA COROLLA04324028.9

The Automobile Club of Southern California, the largest AAA affiliate, has been serving members since 1900. Today, Auto Club members benefit by the organization's roadside assistance, financial products, travel agency and trip planning services, highway and transportation safety programs, insurance products and services and automotive pricing, buying and financing programs. Information about these products and services is available on the Auto Club's web site at www.aaa-calif.com.

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