EPA to change the way gas mileage gets estimated, to detriment of hybrids

04_toyota_prius_350.jpgDrivers have been complaining for years that the fuel economy stickers on cars do not represent real world conditions and that nobody ever achieved the posted numbers. Now, as highway speeds have increased, air conditioning has become standard and there is increased stop-and-go congestion, the numbers are even more out of whack.

The EPA is considering tests that include agressive driving with speeds up to 80 MPH, and another driving under heat lamps with the air conditioner running full blast.

However, problems arise when one sets up the tests like this. We doubt that Treehuggers who buy a Prius or an Insight boot the pedal to the metal with the AC cranked up, conditions that put it straight into gasoline mode. Under such "real world" conditions the Consumers Union estimates that the Prius is actually 22% less efficient than the sticker says. Needless to say, Toyota likes the current laboratory tests on a dynamometer.

We do not see the Health Department restructuring the food pyramid to match the diet of the average American- they are going the other way. Why should the EPA revise the fuel standards to match the average American's driving habits instead of encouraging them to improve them? ::Wall Street Journal by [LA]

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