EPA Revises Test Methods for Fuel Economy Standards
December 13, 2006
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on December 11th that it has revised its test methods for determining the fuel economy of the latest vehicle models. EPA's new methods are meant to bring its estimates of miles per gallon (mpg) closer to consumers' actual fuel use by including factors such as driving at high speeds, accelerating aggressively, using air conditioning, and driving in cold temperatures. The new test methods will become effective for Model Year 2008 vehicles, which could go on sale as early as January, although most are released in the fall. The tests determine the fuel economy estimates that appear on new vehicle window stickers, are used in auto company promotions, and are available on the Fuel Economy Guide Web site.
To more clearly convey fuel economy information to consumers, the EPA is also enhancing the design and content of the window sticker. The new label will allow consumers to make more informed decisions by providing an expected range of fuel economies for each vehicle and by comparing the combined city and highway fuel economy with other vehicles in the same class. The EPA is also gearing up for its next change: starting with Model Year 2011, fuel economy labels will be required for medium-duty vehicles weighing between 8,500 and 10,000 pounds, including large pickups, vans, and sport utility vehicles. See the EPA press release, and for more detailed information, visit the EPA Fuel Economy Web site.