New EPA Fuel Economy Stickers To Use More Realistic Estimates

Starting with the 2008 line, new cars will feature an improved fuel economy sticker with better estimates of gas usage. The stickers will show an increased range of expected mpg, depending on how one drives.

Consumer advocacy groups complained the sticker’s mpg ratings were too generous in years past. A test not updated from the 1970’s, when the national highway speed limit was 55, stop and go traffic was lower, and horsepower was 89 percent lower, was to blame for consumer’s never achieving the posted MPG. — BEN POPKEN

New EPA fuel-economy tests will better reflect real-world driving [ConsumerReports]


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  1. Motor_Head says:

    Horsepower has increased 89% since 1981? I assume they are talking averages, but even that doesn’t seem right. Did they average the hp for each model, or did they average the hp for all the vehicles sold?

    If I remember, Toyota and Honda had some really low hp cars, but the sales volume of those cars were relatively low.

    As someone who knows too much about this, I am glad we can get better estimates.

  2. Turboner says:

    Not too many cars with high, or even moderate hp back then. Most cars sold were less than 200 hp, even V8’s. Think Super-sucktastick carbureted turbo firebirds as the top of the heap at mid 200 hp levels or something like that. Hell, my mom’s 86 New Yorker 2.2 turbo only put out 145 hp after waiting 5 minutes for the turbo to spool up. You did get ring land-busting knock as an added side bonus due to not having a charge air cooler of any kind. I think most of them furrin cars were ~100hp :(

  3. danio3834 says:

    1981 was definentely a low point for HP. Off the top of my head, the avg HP for most cars then would have been somewhere 80-110 hp.

  4. NeoteriX says:

    Thank goodness. More power to the consumer. I wonder what the typical difference between manual and automatic will be under this new test.

  5. TechnoDestructo says:

    Hey, I consistently get within 1 mpg of EPA city mileage in city driving, and from 0-5 mpg better highway. No matter what I’m driving, no matter where.

    I like having a testing method unchanged since the 70s. When you’re shopping for used cars, that’s the only way to have a meaningful comparison.

    So they’re not changing the big numbers, only adding a range, right?

  6. thrillhouse says:

    Since it was shown that there was a 40% discrepency in some EPA estimates, It would be interesting to see some side-by-side comparisons of the EPA’s before and afters.

  7. AskCars says:

    No what the post leaves out is the testing procedures have radically changed for the 2008 MY and beyond to be more realistic. Consumers are going to be really confused when they get to a lot with 2007 and 2008 models sitting next to each other like will happen frequently in the coming months.

    A 2007 model could have 20% – roughly – better mpg numbers compared to the 2008 sitting next to it even if its the same car. Hybrids will suffer the greatest dip in EPA estimates.

    The 2008 estimate will be more realistic but for comparative purposes consumers will be screwed until all the 2007s are sold out and that won’t be well into the calendar year 2008.

  8. Xkeeper says:

    About fucking time… now if they’d just redo all the 2007’s, so that like the above comment, people don’t go “Eew, new hybrids suck” (or “new cars suck”) and buy older, worse vehicles.

    But this has been what, ten years direly needed?

  9. EQC says:

    Hmmm…so will there also be an update to the required MPG ratings that the government sets for cars sold?

    IE: if a company is supposed to sell, on average, a car with 27mpg…and suddenly the EPA-estimated mpg drops 20% across the board, how quickly will car manufactures have to fix their cars to actually get the required mpg?

    If the new rating also results in a jump in efficiency (to keep the same mpg rating under the new system), then woo!

  10. thrillhouse says:


    Hmmm…so will there also be an update to the required MPG ratings that the government sets for cars sold?

    In a word, no. This is simply an admission of a flawed method of measurement. It doesn’t excuse the already low standards that we have in this country.

    Also, the ratings won’t drop X% “across the board”. Consumer Reports found that some models were off by as much as 50%, while others were around 5% or less. I don’t recall seeing any correlation between those with the greatest discrepencies – that group included both the Chrysler 300c Hemi and the Honda Civic Hybrid.

    This will effectively be a turd-in-the-punch-bowl for manufacturers who have done so much to tout their fuel efficiancy as well as the consumers who bought their lies.

    EPA Fuel Economy Ratings Have Shortfalls Of Up To 50 Percent