Report: EPA says fuel economy test for hybrids is accurate

Filed under: Hybrid, Government/Legal, Hatchback, Ford

EPA claims its hybrid vehicle tests remain accurate, but says Ford C-Max Hybrid exploited a loophole.

The EPA says it stands behind its fuel economy test for hybrid vehicles following controversy about the testing process after Ford C-Max Hybrid customers and automotive journalists alike struggled to achieve 47 miles per gallon, the advertised mpg number, Automotive News reports. Ford responded to the issue almost two weeks ago by claiming that a 1970s-era EPA general label rule was responsible for the inaccurate mileage numbers, rerating the C-Max Hybrid’s mpg numbers and offering customers rebates. Ford later said it didn’t overstate the C-Max Hybrid’s fuel economy and that it was surprised by the low numbers.

Ford technically didn’t do anything wrong because it was following the general label rule, but agency regulator Christopher Grundler says the automaker was exploiting a loophole when it came up with the hybrid C-Max numbers, and that the testing process remains accurate. The general label rule allows vehicles that use the same engine and transmission and are in the same weight class to share fuel economy numbers, but it doesn’t take into account other factors such as aerodynamic efficiency, which affects hybrids more drastically than non-hybrid vehicles. Ford originally used the Fusion Hybrid economy figures for the C-Max Hybrid and claimed the engineers didn’t realize that its aerodynamic efficiency would affect fuel economy as much as it did.

To address the increasingly commonplace practice of using the same powertrain in multiple applications, Grundler says, the EPA rules need to be changed so more car buyers are not mislead.

Toyota is standing with the EPA on this one after spurring a revision of test methods in 2006 after overstating Prius mileage numbers. Toyota said in a statement that it believes “the current labeling methodology established since 2006 provides appropriate fuel economy label values for customers, when automakers apply these rules with good common sense and engineering judgement.” And yes, that sounds like a well-aimed but somewhat ill-timed shot from Toyota to Ford to us, too…

EPA says fuel economy test for hybrids is accurate originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 26 Aug 2013 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: EPA, DOT unveil updated window stickers [w/video]

Filed under: Car Buying, Government/Legal

Electric vehicle label

Electric vehicle label – Click above for more labels

Updated United States fuel economy labeling, unveiled on Wednesday, includes additional information on plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles, and highlights other advanced technologies aimed at reducing gasoline consumption and tailpipe emissions.

The redesigned window stickers, required on all 2013 models, enables consumers to quickly compare fuel savings for different types of vehicles, whether they rely on gasoline or some type of alternative fuel. For example, the labels display estimates of how much fuel or electricity would be required to drive 100 miles and how much time is needed to charge a plug-in vehicles like the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf.

Lisa Jackson, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), says the reason for the redesigned labels is to give consumers, “the best possible information about which cars on the lot offer the greatest fuel economy and the best environmental performance.” The EPA developed the updated labels with assistance from the Department of Transportation.

Click here (pdf) for a detailed look at all of the revised fuel economy labels and follow the jump to view video on the labels’ Smartphone “QR Code.” Let us know your thoughts on the updated labels by voicing your opinion in the Comments, as well.

Continue reading EPA, DOT unveil updated window stickers [w/video]

EPA, DOT unveil updated window stickers [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 25 May 2011 11:27:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Autoblog Podcast #231: Next Camry, vehicle satisfaction, EPA letter grades, BMW’s 328 Hommage

Filed under: Podcasts

Click above for the Autoblog Podcast in iTunes, RSS or listen now!

Shunk, Bowman, Roth and (eventually) Paukert get together for Episode #231 of the Autoblog Podcast. We cover the talk of a new Toyota Camry by year’s end, the dropping of proposed EPA letter grades from window stickers, the BMW 328 Hommage, and Chrysler and Lincoln topping their categories in the recent AutoPacific Vehicle Satisfaction Awards. Your feedback and questions finish it off, and we’ve re-posted the Q&A at the bottom of this post so you can play along at home, too. Thanks for listening, we’ll see you next week!

Autoblog Podcast #231: Next Camry, vehicle satisfaction, EPA Letter Grades, BMW’s 328 Hommage

  • Letter grades dropped from window stickers; good or bad?
  • BMW 328 Hommage unveiled to celebrate 75th anniversary of original
  • New Camry coming this fall
  • Lincoln and Chrysler named top brands in Auto Pacific satisfaction survey

In the Autoblog Garage:

2011 Porsche Panamera
2011 Hyundai Equus
2011 Infiniti EX35


Hosts: Dan Roth, Chris Shunk, Zach Bowman, Chris Paukert
Runtime: 01:19:04


Get the podcast:
[iTunes] Subscribe to the Autoblog Podcast in iTunes
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Feedback:
Email: Podcast at Autoblog dot com
Voicemail: 734-288-8POD (734-288-8763)

Review the show in iTunes and take our survey

Autoblog Podcast #231: Next Camry, vehicle satisfaction, EPA letter grades, BMW’s 328 Hommage originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 24 May 2011 17:46:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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PSA: EPA now offering used car window stickers

Filed under: Car Buying, Etc., Government/Legal

1995 honda civic window sticker

Thanks to the Environmental Protection Agency, new car buyers always have the ability to read fuel economy numbers on the window sticker of any car on the lot. But if you’re looking at a used vehicle, the same efficiency info isn’t always readily available.

Consumer Reports reports that the EPA has changed that little problem by posting the fuel efficiency information of used vehicles on its fueleconomy.gov website. These aren’t new fuel economy numbers, but the EPA did apply the updated fuel economy logic that was instituted in 2008. So if your original 1995 Honda Civic was once quoted at 40 miles per gallon, the new fuel economy number is 33 mpg. The EPA is tracking fuel economy dating back to 1984, too, so car buyers can go back before many Autoblog readers were even born.

The EPA is hoping that anyone selling a vehicle will use the tool as well. Dealers, for example, can print up the window sticker and place it on the window of the vehicle being sold, giving the “sold as is, no warranty” caveat some competition on the passenger-side window.

[Source: Consumer Reports]

PSA: EPA now offering used car window stickers originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 16 Mar 2011 16:21:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: House panel attempting to block EPA from regulating tailpipe emissions

Filed under: Government/Legal

greenhouse gas tailpipe emissions

The Clean Air Act of 2007 gave the Environmental Protection Agency the right to regulate tailpipe emissions due to their dangers to public health. The law also gave states like California the right to set their own emissions policies; a move that could force automakers to meet several different standards in the U.S. alone. That led the federal government to essentially adopt California’s standard, resulting in a mandate of 34.1 miles per gallon by 2016.

The Detroit News reports that Fred Upton, R-MI and Ed Whitfield, R-KY have sponsored a bill in the House Energy and Commerce Committee that would overturn the Clean Air Act. The proposed measure would remove emissions regulations authority from the EPA and individual states, with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration instead having sole authority to set corporate average fuel economy standards. “We feel it is not right that California should be dictating standards for the rest of the country,” said Whitfield.

The move may be well-received by automakers, since the current regulations in place will cost OEMs billions of dollars. In fact, experts claim the stiff regulations currently on the books will cost automakers up to $52 billion over the next five years. That’s a lot of cabbage, but the Obama Administration claims fuel economy improvements will save 1.8 billion barrels of oil and save car owners up to $3,000 over the life of the vehicle.

The sponsored bill has been given the go-ahead by the Energy and Power subcommittee, and The Detroit News claims house Republicans plan to fast-track the bill through Congress.

[Source: The Detroit News | Image: Clinton Steeds – C.C. 2.0]

Report: House panel attempting to block EPA from regulating tailpipe emissions originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 11 Mar 2011 18:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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EPA, DOT, California all agree on timeframe for new CAFE standards

Filed under: Government/Legal

Last April, the three main fuel economy regulatory players – the EPA, the DOT and the State of California – announced new CAFE targets for the 2012 through 2016 model years: 34.1 miles per gallon by 2016. If there’s one thing U.S. automakers liked about this, it was that we had a “national standard” for fuel economy regulations. The U.S. has been shifting towards a cohesive, nationwide set of rules since 2008 and it looks like we had avoived the dreaded “patchwork” regulations that OEMs were so troubled by.

This week, the regulatory partners announced “a single timeframe for proposing fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards for model year 2017-2025 cars and light-duty trucks.” Whatever MPG number they agree to, we’ll hear about it from a singular voice by September 1 instead of an announcement from California in the spring and then a federal one in the fall, as had been expected.

Because of the Clean Air Act, California still had the authority to define its own motor vehicle emissions standards, but the feds have been working to make their own regulations strict enough to keep California happy while providing “certainty” for automakers that are building next-gen clean cars. Last fall, California “accepted compliance with these federal GHG standards,” and – for now – everyone is still playing together nicely.

[Source: EPA/DOT/CARB, USAToday | Image: BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images]

Continue reading EPA, DOT, California all agree on timeframe for new CAFE standards

EPA, DOT, California all agree on timeframe for new CAFE standards originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 25 Jan 2011 13:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Chrysler working on hydraulic minivan hybrid with the EPA’s help

Filed under: Hybrid, Minivan/Van, Technology, Chrysler

Chrysler Group CEO Sergio Marchionne and Lisa Jackson, Agency Administrator for the EPA, announced a new research project to bring hydraulic hybrid technology to the marketplace. The new hybrid will be based on Chrysler’s Town & Country minivan, although this shouldn’t be confused with the other minivan hybrid Chrysler is working on for 2013.

Hydraulics in vehicles have been tested in larger vehicles by FedEx, Ford (with its hydraulic-launch-assist) and others. What Chrysler and the EPA plan to do is produce a running demonstration vehicle (yes, just one) in 2012 using a hydraulic hybrid system the EPA developed in Ann Arbor, MI. The T&C will use a 2.4-liter, inline four-cylinder gasoline engine that will share motivation duties with a 117cc engine pump, a 45cc drive electric motor and a two-speed automatic transmission.

The hydraulic fluid will be stored in a 14.4-gallon high pressure accumulator that can reach pressures as high as 5,000 psi. If there’s enough energy in the accumulator, the motor will shut down until it’s needed again. If it all works as advertised, then overall fuel economy will be improved around 30-35 percent, while city miles per gallon will be improved by up to 60 percent. Although we’ve heard rumors of a hybrid Chrysler minivan for years, it sounds like something real will finally arrive – in one form or another.

[Source: Chrysler, Detroit News]

Continue reading Chrysler working on hydraulic minivan hybrid with the EPA’s help

Chrysler working on hydraulic minivan hybrid with the EPA’s help originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 19 Jan 2011 16:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: House members call on EPA to ditch automobile letter grades

Filed under: Government/Legal

EPA fuel economy labels
EPA/DOT Proposed Fuel Economy Labels – Click above for high-res versions

It seems John Q. Public isn’t the only one who thinks the letter grades the Environmental Protection Agency was planning to put on new car window stickers are confusing. Need a refresher? Check out our previous breakdown on the two window sticker options the EPA was proposing.

According to a report from CNBC, 53 members of the House sent a letter to the EPA in opposition to the proposed new labels. The main sticking point is that the House disagrees that only electric cars and plug-in hybrids should get the highest grades of A and A+.

As an alternative, the House is reportedly suggesting that the EPA figure out a way to continue promoting the tried-and-true miles-per-gallon rating system. It should be pointed out, though, that the old method of rating vehicles using an assigned mpg figure has its detractors too… and for good reason.

Gallery: EPA/DOT Proposed Fuel Economy Labels

[Source: CNBC]

Report: House members call on EPA to ditch automobile letter grades originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 09 Dec 2010 15:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2011 Chevy Volt gets 93 mpge (and 37 mpg and 60 mpg) rating from EPA

Filed under: Hybrid, Sedan, Chevrolet, GM, Electric

After yesterday’s 99 miles per gallon (equivalent) EPA rating for the Nissan Leaf, General Motors had to be eager to get the numbers for the Chevy Volt from the government – if for no other reason than because these efficiency stickers are the last thing holding up deliveries of the first production vehicles.

Today, GM shared the official numbers with the world, and they range from 37 miles per gallon to 93 mpge (equivalent) combined to 60 mpg “composite.” Sixty mpg composite is a “combined, combined” number, and will be completely different for everyone. You might want to think of it as a lifetime figure, since it accounts for both electricity and gasoline consumed. Oh, and it’s also best in class for compact cars. The Volt’s official electric-only range will be 35 miles, but GM, like Nissan, has been giving a range recently of 25-50 miles. The Volt now has an official total range of 379 miles, with 344 miles of that being extended range (i.e., gas) driving. As Tony DiSalle, Chevrolet product marketing director, said, “If you try to boil it down to a single number, it gets quite difficult.”

Doug Parks, Chevrolet Volt Global Vehicle Line Executive, said he is “quite pleased” with the numbers and understands that it is a complicated story to tell. GM and the EPA worked together to come up with this label to figure in all of the different modes that impact the vehicle’s efficiency. We’ve heard that the 2011 Volt will have a temporary EPA label, but Parks told us that what you see above will likely be what we see in next year, saying “Our intent was not to do something that was a one-year deal. Our hope is that this is very similar to the path that everyone will go down in the future. We tried to make the label look as similar as it can to next year.”

So, what about that “230 mpg” GM touted last year. Well, that was a different way to calculate things. “230 by itself was never intended to be a composite number,” Parks said.

[Source: General Motors]

2011 Chevy Volt gets 93 mpge (and 37 mpg and 60 mpg) rating from EPA originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 24 Nov 2010 15:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Nissan Leaf snags 99 mpg rating on official EPA sticker

Filed under: Government/Legal, Hatchback, Nissan, Electric

nissan leaf epa mpg label

As far as we know, the first production Chevrolet Volt models are still awaiting their official EPA stickers. Nissan, though, has received the details on what the government agency has rated its all-electric Leaf at, and it looks good: a combined rating of 99 miles per gallon (equivalent) which breaks down into 106 city/92 highway. The official EPA range for the car is 73 miles, which Nissan admits is a variable (we know it can be beaten), and the annual electric cost is estimated at $561. The Leaf is the first vehicle to get this new label, Nissan spokesperson Katherine Zachary told AutoblogGreen that 99 mpg puts the Leaf way in front into the “best” fuel efficiency rating for mid-size vehicle class. It’ll be interesting to see how Nissan uses this in upcoming advertisements, especially since the company has called the car a compact in the past.

So, how does the EPA calculate mpg for an electric car? Nissan’s presser says the EPA uses a formula where 33.7 kWhs are equivalent to one gallon of gasoline energy. Also, the EPA determined the Leaf’s efficiency is 3.4 miles per kWh, another number you can easily beat while driving, as the driver info screen can prove. Since the Leaf has a 24 kWh battery pack and can go, officially, 73 miles, then, the EPA says, it could theoretically go 99 miles if it had a 33.7 kWh pack (and everything else about the car remained the same). Make sense?

Maybe, but the car will also have another label from the Federal Trade Commission that it applies to all alternative fuel vehicles. That sticker will show that the Leaf gets 96 to 110 miles of range, so don’t trust everything you see. Check out Nissan’s official press release after the jump for more details.

Gallery: 2011 Nissan Leaf: First Drive

Photos copyright (C)2010 Damon Lavrinc / AOL

[Source: Nissan]

Continue reading Nissan Leaf snags 99 mpg rating on official EPA sticker

Nissan Leaf snags 99 mpg rating on official EPA sticker originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 22 Nov 2010 16:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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