The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

11 December 2006

The public is aghast

The last time the Environmental Protection Agency tinkered with their gas-mileage ratings, back in the 1980s, they didn't do anything about the methodology; instead, they applied a fudge factor "to account for factors not included in the tests".

Beginning in 2008, they will improve the quality of that fudge factor. From deep within the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers' new Your Mileage Will Vary site, the nature of the changes:

Currently, EPA relies on data from two laboratory tests to determine the city and highway fuel economy estimates. With new labels, fuel economy estimates will reflect vehicle-specific data from tests designed to replicate three real-world conditions that can significantly affect fuel economy: high speed/rapid acceleration driving, use of air conditioning, and cold temperature operation.

Of course, no two people drive exactly the same way, so you still may not reach the numbers on the label.

The following minor bits of historical data may be of interest:

  • Sandy: EPA 22 city, 28 highway; actual over 55k miles 23 city, 29 highway.
  • Gwendolyn: EPA 20 city, 28 highway; actual over 5k miles 21 city, 28 highway.

Of course, I drive when it's cold, with the A/C on, and with the pedal in close proximity to the metal.

Posted at 5:11 PM to Driver's Seat , Family Joules


My 1.8L Turbo Passat can get as high as 44mpg on flat roads if you go slow enough to keep the turbo from spinning. That's about 6mpg better than when it was new.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at 10:24 PM on 12 December 2006

I was surprised to get 32 mpg along the Pennsylvania Turnpike one year. Of course, anything I saved in fuel cost was more than eaten up by the toll, but you can't have everything.

Posted by: CGHill at 7:13 AM on 13 December 2006