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Fuel Economy Ratings Are Only EPA Estimates

Updated on June 19, 2013

Anyone who has bought a new or used car relies on the sticker attached to the window as being accurate. Especially, when you buy a car for its advertised gas mileage rating from the EPA. Many buy a car mainly for this reason, yet, there is nothing worse than spending thousands and then find out the EPA rating of 30 MPG is actually 26 MPG in real world driving conditions.

In Consumer Report's testing of many cars in real world conditions failed to get the EPA MPG advertised rating. Usually, the car got at least 2-4 MPG less than the rating. This seemed to be true for the hybrid cars as well, this really ticks off the owners because they easily spent much more for the car than a non-hybrid.

Ford charges $2600 more for a 2013 Ford Escape with a 1.6 engine that is turbocharged than the same car with a non-turbo 2,5 liter engine. For that extra money, you are suppose to get two more miles per gallon or $1300 for each added highway MPG. Yet, the EPA tests the car for MPG in a static non-world environment- a laboratory, using repeated formulas in precise ways. They do not replicate real world driving at all. The odd thing is, the MPG ratings that the EPA issues for cars, sometimes are lower than what real world drivers get, so go figure. Some new customers of the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid are returning their cars because they only get 22 MPG, when the EPA issued the car with a 35 MPG. Hyundai has admitted that on many of their 2012-13 models, improper testing was done for MPG ratings. The Ford V-Max Hybrid also has the same problem, its listed MPG rating is 47, while owners of the car are screaming fraud because they only get 39 on average, with the worse being 28!

Owners of VW diesel cars seem to have a better experience, the EPA gives them a rating of 30\40 MPG, while many owners state it is more like 33\45. But driving a car is the real issue, the determining factor as how you car gets its MPG and the environment it is usually in.

The EPA laboratories cannot even come close in replicating this, hence, use the MPG ratings as a guide and subtract 2-4 miles from it for a real world MPG.


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