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Consumer Reports Said Ford's 47 mpg claim is too high for both vehicles

There are questions regarding Ford's C-Max Hybrid and Fusion Hybrid's advertised 47 mpg, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) intends to check it out.

Ford's C-Max Hybrid and Fusion Hybrid both show an estimated 47 mpg, but Consumer Reports recently pointed out that neither are living up to the automaker's claims. According to its testing, the C-Max Hybrid received 35/38/37 mpg for city/highway/combined. For the Fusion Hybrid, it found 35/41/39 mpg for city/highway/combined.

"Yes, the disclaimer on EPA fuel-economy labels notes that your results may differ," said Consumer Reports. "But the overall mpg for these C-Max and Fusion models is off by a whopping 10 and 8 mpg, respectively, or about 20 percent. Our overall-mpg results are usually pretty close to the EPA's combined-mpg estimate. Among current models, more than 80 percent of the vehicles we've tested are within 2 mpg."

2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid

Ford responded to the claims, saying that mileage varies among hybrids.

"Early C-Max Hybrid and Fusion Hybrid customers praise the vehicles and report a range of fuel economy figures, including some reports above 47 mpg," said Ford spokesman Wes Sherwood. "This reinforces the fact that driving styles, driving conditions and other factors can cause mileage to vary."

While all vehicles must undergo the EPA test for fuel efficiency, the test isn't actually administered by the government agency. Instead, automakers perform the test and the EPA reviews it. In many cases, factors like temperature and speed result in gas mileage being lower than the EPA sticker.

2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid

Ford's testing found 47 mpg overall for both vehicles, and while it's common for the EPA to review such claims and discover a variation in gas mileage, Consumer Reports complained that this is a pretty big gap between Ford's findings and its own.

The EPA said it will "look at the report and data."

Back in December 2011, Consumer Watchdog called on the EPA to investigate Hyundai over its fuel economy claims. Hyundai claimed that its Elantra achieved 29 MPG in the city and 40 MPG on highway. However, the organization received a higher-than-usual number of complaints that real-world mileage was in the mid-20 mpg range.

From there, the EPA investigated Hyundai for misleading mileage claims and found that the fuel economy estimates of most of its 2012-2013 models were inflated. The same goes for Kia. Both Kia and Hyundai will be lowering the fuel economy estimates on the majority of their 2012 to 2013 models after EPA testing discovered a gap between its data and what both of the companies are claiming.

Hyundai and Kia admitted to overstating the estimated fuel economy on window stickers of about 900,000 vehicles sold since late 2010. Reports show that Hyundai alone could spend $100 million trying to fix the fiasco.

Source: The Detroit News

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By Dr of crap on 12/10/2012 12:40:31 PM , Rating: -1
Like our tax money should go into maing sure that NO ONE inflates the mpg on the window sticker!!!!!!!

Complete waste of money and time!

RE: Yea
By Brandon Hill on 12/10/2012 12:42:51 PM , Rating: 5
Bitching about missing 1 or 2 mpg... yeah, waste of money.

But an 8 or 10 mpg difference? They sure as hell better look into that!

RE: Yea
By cknobman on 12/10/2012 2:27:08 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder if it is something with the actual fuel causing the lower mpg.

I say this because I bought a 2011 Toyota Prius and for the first year I had no problems getting the rated 50mpg out of it.

Here in the last 6 months though no matter how I drive it I can barely get 47 mpg out of it. I put new tires on it (same tires that came with it that are the low rolling resistance), never miss a regular scheduled maintenance, make sure air filter is cleaned, and checked verything I can think of and found no other reasons why the mpg has gone down 3-5 mpg.

RE: Yea
By Manch on 12/11/2012 8:27:05 AM , Rating: 2
Could be. Try replacing your fuel filter.

RE: Yea
By knutjb on 12/10/2012 2:37:05 PM , Rating: 2
Toyota got busted for programing a test sensing loop to use more battery only on the EPA's test run. I cannot say that is what happened here. The review I saw on motorweek said they averaged 35 "in spirited driving." When cars are fun to drive we tend to drive in a more spirited manner.

Yes they should look at all involved, including see why the end user is getting the results they got. Some of the variables are fuel types/blends in different parts of the country, more ethanol and certain blends give less mpgs, testing equipment, related programing, and the test operators. This may have so many variables it might take a while to sort out in a definitive manner.

Also, how reliable is the EPA's testing protocol?

RE: Yea
By cknobman on 12/10/2012 3:29:59 PM , Rating: 2
I just tried finding information on your claim of Toyota being busted for a test sensing loop and came up with nothing.

Can you post a link?

RE: Yea
By Rukkian on 12/10/2012 5:03:01 PM , Rating: 2
I actually thought that was on Honda Civic hybrid where they had a recall and changed the % of the battery that could be used, which also lowered the mileage, but having never owned a hybrid, I could be wrong.

RE: Yea
By knutjb on 12/11/2012 2:21:14 AM , Rating: 2

I was told by someone in the industry when the EPA made its change. They added random variations to make it harder to cheat, the older method was very predictable. Notice the prius had the biggest drop~25%.

RE: Yea
By cknobman on 12/11/2012 9:53:39 AM , Rating: 2

Man that was a long time ago though.

RE: Yea
By Keeir on 12/10/2012 7:14:53 PM , Rating: 2
Too soon....

Have the Fusion and C-Max been out a full year yet?

Ambient Temperatures can make a large difference in fuel consumption for any car... It may be even more extreme for a Hybrid.

I thought that Fusion and C-Max only started getting delievered this Fall... so we have low mileage and likely colder than average real world data so far?

RE: Yea
By Dr of crap on 12/11/2012 8:17:24 AM , Rating: 2
WHY !!??!!

You didn't pay enough taxes yet?

RE: Yea
By theapparition on 12/10/2012 2:59:38 PM , Rating: 2
So we already spend tax money on an EPA department, which regulates these test. The manufacturers spends tons of money to do these tests and submit official paperwork to the US government claiming compliance.

But you draw the line that anyone should check on if the results submitted are even accurate?

You can't have it both ways. Either do away with the EPA requirements and all regulation or enforce the laws and hold automakers accountable for accurate information.

In my view, anyone who intentionally misleads consumers by falsifying information is below scum. I held no sympathy for Hyundai/Kia, and I'll hold none for Ford should these accusations prove true.

The EPA tests are far from perfect describing real world use, but they are standardized and every manufacturer should be in full compliance without trying to game the system.

RE: Yea
By Dr of crap on 12/11/2012 8:23:40 AM , Rating: 2
SO -
You believe ALL marketing claims
You believe ALL political ads
No priest has molested kids, no one has killed his kids, ect...

I could go on, but you get my point.

"In my view, anyone who intentionally misleads consumers by falsifying information is below scum"

That statement is exactly what ALL ads are about and what EVERY POLITICAN is doing every day.

Can't have it both ways.
Either you get the truth or you don't! Most of the time you don't. If you believe that you do in fact get the truth, then you lead a sheltered life.

RE: Yea
By theapparition on 12/11/2012 10:39:10 AM , Rating: 2
Nice way to try to twist my words.

Marketing and Political ads aren't heavily regulated by the government and subject to QUANTITATIVE numbers.

While buzzwords like "Best in class" are quite nebulous, testing under the EPA is mandated by Federal Law and not subject to interpretation.

You already know this. But are you seriously arguing that you think it's OK that people blatantly lie. You seem to accept that lies, be it for products, politics or personal gain is the norm and should just be accepted.

I however refuse to submit to this. Sure marketing stretches the truth by misdirection, but that's quite a bit different by outright lying. Sure, I could say that my new car has best in class* performance and in small print put *this is the only car in this class. While not an outright lie, that's still misdirection.

But that's completely different from lying. If it's a blatant lie or doesn't fall within certain guidelines, the ad gets pulled and the offender can face some consequences, namely either civil lawsuits or even criminal in rare cases.

But on things that are regulated by the government, and heavily enforced, than those must be accurate and responsibly reported. Imagine if the nuclear plant down the street decided it was OK to stretch the truth regarding how much radiation was leaked. Come on now, everyone lies.....according to you. Or that the group testing drinking water contaminates lied on their results and it's not really safe to drink. Again, everyone lies, what's the harm.

Seriously. Just let that sink in for a minute.

RE: Yea
By Dr of crap on 12/11/2012 11:55:34 AM , Rating: 2
We are talking about a "govt agency" that has come up with a testing process to put mpg numbers on a cars windows sticker. Of which NO ONE believes the numbers anyway.

We all know it is a way of comparing cars as to what one "might expect" relative to the mpg you "could" get.

"But on things that are regulated by the government, and heavily enforced, than those must be accurate and responsibly reported"
When the above happens - pigs will fly. YOU KNOW THAT. And if you don't you must be lead by the marketing spin, oh sorry "misdirection".

All I'm saying is there are MUCH BETTER was to waste our tax money then to be concerned that the mpg numbers on a few cars MIGHT be off by a few. As stated here temps, altitude, humidity, hilly terain, daytime, night time, ALL these can affect mpg of a car. So what you get might de different from what I get. If I look at a vast majority of drivers and how they drive, they are not concerned in the least if they even get close to the EPA window mpg number. It's somewhat subjective, and I do not think these tests are so "heavily regulated". If they were there wouldn't the abliity to have them deviate from what they are to be from the testing process, as Hyundia did.

RE: Yea
By theapparition on 12/11/2012 1:04:18 PM , Rating: 2
Your full of it, and the sad fact is you know it but won't back down. Your entire argument is based on the predication that it's OK to misreport numbers to the government.

This isn't marketing. The EPA mandates through federal law that automakers must test cars in accordance to their procedures on a production ready car. They're not allowed to remove the AC system, take out the spare tire or inflate the normal tires to 80psi. No ECU reprogramming either (like Toyota did with the Prius and got caught).

But you take the position that companies shouldn't be held responsible for falsifying information. That information is not only used by the government for planning oil and gas reserves, pollution and future economic stability, but also directly affects the consumer based on the cost the user expects to experience in ownership. Not unlike all the energy star labels (I guess those are a waste too, huh?).

As I said before, you either get rid of the regulation or you enforce it. There is no middle ground. This isn't some pissing contest on contrast between monitor manufacturers. This is information that is required to be accurate by law and affects consumers decisions. Even in this thread, you have people complaining they would have bought another vehicle if they would have known the C-Max got 10mpg less than claimed.

I don't live in a fantasy land of perfection. I know mistakes happen and marketing tends to mislead consumers. But EPA numbers aren't about being a be all, end all number. As you stated, what I get and you get in the same car might be drastically different, along with all the other environmental factors.

But the EPA test results in a controlled test that all manufacturers are required to follow. It has nothing to do with whether anyone ever gets EPA mpg numbers, but has all to do with a fair playing field to compare different models. There is no "subjective" interpretation. Under the same tests, the cars should be able to repeatably and accurately reproduce results.

There's plenty of taxpayer waste I'm not happy with. But when it comes to federally required reporting, enforcing companies to be honest isn't one of them.

RE: Yea
By Nutzo on 12/11/2012 1:09:49 PM , Rating: 2
They're not allowed to remove the AC system, take out the spare tire or inflate the normal tires to 80psi.

The C-Max doesn't come with a spare tire, or even have space for one. Just a can of flat fix.
I'd never buy a car without a spare tire, as I would have been stranded too many times over the years.

RE: Yea
By Dr of crap on 12/11/2012 2:23:23 PM , Rating: 2
Yes !
Cars are now being sold WITHOUT SPARES, just to reduce weight to INCREASE mpgs. Simple.

And what will half of the car buyers do - buy a spare and put it in the trunk, thus making sure they can't get the EPA window sticker mpg number!

See how those numbers mean nothing!

But in your world those numbers are set in stone, never to be had a finger pointed at! PLEASE !!!!!! It's car mpgs. It's not about our health, of the safety of astronauts, or something really important.

RE: Yea
By theapparition on 12/14/2012 11:03:03 AM , Rating: 2
The weight of a full spare tire equates to noise on mpg numbers. It doesn't affect highway mileage (weight has no factor) and would almost be imperceptible on the city mileage. If you really think a 50lb weight affects the readings, its well under what the average fat American is already carrying around their waist anyway.

Red Herring #1

Then half of car buyers throw a spare tire in. Really. Bet that number is actually less than 1%.

Red Herring #2

Finally, you still don't get it. EPA numbers have nothing to do with real world usage. That part I think you get. But they play an important role as a controlled baseline. That's the part you completely miss.

That's the basics of scientific measurement. You need a control. Without a controlled baseline, all further measurements are meaningless.

The EPA numbers give a consumer an idea of how different vehicles will perform over the EXACT same conditions. While they don't mean you'll get those exact numbers, they should be close. And when comparing, one car that gets 5mpg better than another model should get somewhere close to that same gap in real world usage.

And the final part you still don't get. If you're going to spend the money to mandate the test, you need to spend the money to enforce the test results. Simple concept.

And again, you seem fixated that I have some obsession with the EPA numbers as a real world fact. Not true. But I see their value as a measurement tool, nothing else. And when I'm measuring something, it better damn sure be equal from ruler to ruler.

RE: Yea
By theapparition on 12/14/2012 10:51:46 AM , Rating: 2
More scare tactics.

Guess what, there's ton's of cars being sold without spares. Not the end of the world.

Runflat tires let you get to where you need if you have issues. Tire monitoring systems let you know if you have a flat rather than damaging a non-runflat tire. Etc, etc.

The spare tire is less about EPA numbers and more about having to design around a spare tire area, adding cost, and weight reduction, which helps.

So you'd never buy a car without a spare. Guess you're going to miss out on all the fun cars coming out. Myself, I've been quite happy with my Corvettes.

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