Starting with the 2008 model year, manufacturers will be
required to post newly revised estimated mileage figures for their vehicles'
windows. Customers have long complained that their cars, pickups, SUVs and
hybrids are not achieving their rated mileage and the Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) is finally
doing something about it.
The previous EPA ratings standards have been in place since
1984 and don't accurately reflect real-world conditions. EPA testing failed to
take into account stop-and-go traffic, lead-footed drivers, driving faster than
55MPH, extreme cold temperatures and the use of air conditioners in vehicles.
According to the EPA, most vehicles will see average city
mileage ratings drop by 12% and highway ratings will drop by an estimated 8%.
Hybrids will be the big losers, however, with the new EPA testing. Hybrids like
the Prius and Civic Hybrid will see their city ratings drop by 20% to 30% in
the city and 10% to 20% on the highway.
Despite what will likely be a slight damper on the image
that its Prius hybrid projects, Toyota is fully behind the changes. "This
doesn't change the car or the technology, just the way the mileage is
calculated," said Toyota Motor Sales USA spokeswoman Ming-Jou Chen.
"It makes the estimate closer to real-world numbers, and we fully support
The EPA sticker is also getting a makeover and will include
an estimated city/highway mileage range of competing models, estimated costs
based on 15,000 miles of driving and a link to www.fueleconomy.gov where potential
buyers can go for more information.