Your Mileage Will Vary a Bit Less

Feb. 24, 2007: Source – Kiplinger

The 2007 Toyota Prius squeezed 30 more miles from a gallon than its nearest mid-size competitor, the Nissan Versa, according to the old EPA fuel economy ratings. Beginning in 2008, things aren’t so rosy.

Mileage tests were developed when we more or less channeled our grandmothers’ driving. Cars are run in a lab on a treadmill. The air conditioner is turned off, test speeds are conservative, and there are no fast starts. In 1985, after an EPA study found that drivers were achieving lower fuel economy than predicted by the tests, the agency concocted a formula on paper to lower the official figures. But the formula didn’t bring the numbers down far enough, and in 2002, the environmental group Bluewater Network (a division of Friends of the Earth) petitioned the EPA to update its procedures.

The new standards will get closer to reality by factoring in higher speeds, stop-and-go driving, more-aggressive acceleration, use of air conditioning and driving in colder temperatures. Mileage will still vary, but the tests will reduce estimated city mpg by 12%, on average, and highway mpg by 8%, according to the EPA. Hybrids’ fuel economy is likely to get a haircut of up to 30% for city driving and 20% for highway.

Fuel economy for the Prius (EPA’s highest-ranked vehicle) dropped 20% overall to 46 mpg, a number that owners are likely to cheer. Most of them either come close or exceed it, according to those reporting on greenhybrid.com.

Window StickerThis new window sticker will begin appearing on model-year 2008 vehicles.

The changes will certainly help consumers looking for fuel efficiency. Still, it seems ludicrous that a luxury car like the five-passenger Hummer H2—the darling of business owners who covet a tax break meant for farmers—is spared from testing because it exceeds the 8500 pound gross vehicle weight limit. Maybe such random thresholds should be the next target of groups like Bluewater Network.

You can see how your vehicle fares under both the old and new regimes using a calculator supplied by the EPA.

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  • Alex

    I do give praise to the EPA for finally being realistic in their testing. Now the car companies can no longer hide how inefficient all of our vehicles are and will have to take new measures to improve milage or face major federal interference such as the guzzler tax. Of course, the testing should be expanded to vehicles under 10,000 lbs., because their are more than enough suvs and work trucks, not being used for worksites, that are not rated. I do have one final thing to say. Gas milage has dropped in the past two decades even with the advent of new technologies and the changed test shows how much impact driver behavior has on milage. So it may not be hybrids that will save the world, but patience in the form of slower accelerations and driving under the speed limit. So I say stop and smell the roses before global warming sets everything on fire.0 :roll

  • Bob

    Unfortunately, this change will have no effect on the mileage values used by automakers to comply with CAFE regulations.

  • Bill

    I have never had a problem meeting and exceeding the window sticker mileage for my cars. I do not plug up traffic by driving slow either nor do I drive mach one every where.

    As to Global Warming, this is the biggest farce since Global Cooling in the 1970′s when all of the same people were trying to convince everyone that another ice age was coming.

    Global Cooling = FARCE I

    Global Warming = FARCE II

  • Larry Brewer

    Thank you for having the guts to say what any thinking person already knows. Global Warming is a ready made media event pushed by people with with one goal in mind. Redistributing USA dollars. Within an hour of my writing this Al Gore will receive his Oscar and before the night is over he’ll be in a private jet heading home with his trophy for saving the world.

  • CLD

    Bill,

    Never mind all the data the IPCC, NASA, the US EPA, etc…have to support the theory of anthropogenic global warming, or the fact that President Bush has stated ‘- the globe is warming.’ (http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/03/20060329-6.html). I’m sure you have evidence to prove otherwise. There are still the issues of energy security and impending resource scarcity, of which I’m sure you’ll agree. Kudos to you for getting the EPA sticker mileage and for driving sparingly. You and I and the rest of us who are aware of these issues need to convince our countryman that it is within our best interest as a nation to curb our apparently insatiable appetite for petroleum, which is helping to mire us in intractable military occupation of countries that–as our fearless leader has stated on several occasions–DON’T LIKE US! I’m not going to quibble over the reasons, but I believe that the first step in solving our energy usage problem is to realize as a nation that we do in fact have a problem.

  • Dan

    Keep in mind that the EPA only reports whole numbers.

    So the Prius goes from 60/51 to 51/46, and the H3 goes from 15/19 to 13/17. In both cases it averages to a 12% reduction. Once you understand percentages, you realize that 12% of a large number is more than 12% of a small number.

    But most cars will get something like 12%. In percentage, the loss is all the same.

    Can’t believe articles are showing up like “Hybrids take a 9 MPG, but SUVs only take a 2 MPG hit”. That just tells me that hybrids are 4 times as efficent as SUVs.

  • Mike

    How often can you by only doing 1 thing:
    1. Help the economy
    2. Slow down and possibly end Terrorisim
    3. Make the Tree Huggers Happy
    4. Possibly end a war

    All that can be accomplished if we end our dependency on foriegn oil. You would think that this would be the #1 focus of our goverment right now. What else can do all 4 of those things!

    Now the bigger question I have is WHY CAN’T DETRIOT BEAT THE PRIUS? We have the best minds in the world here in the United States and we are talking about the US car makers trying to play catch up. I say the Hell with catchup up. Why can’t we blow away the Prius. Come up with a car that gets 80 MPG that is American made. It is possible and would solve a lot of problems. Raise the heck out of mileage regulations, make oil dependency our #1 priority and give our young scientist and engeneers something to work for like landing a man on the moon was 50 years ago.

  • ex-EV1 driver

    I drove a GM EV1 for 3 years. It was about 3 times as efficient as the Prius, accelerated much faster, never required gas stations, etc. They CAN do it but for some perverted reasons refuse to.

  • Dan

    ex-EV, I have no doubt that the big 3 could come out with an EV-2 in no time, problem is, they’d have to charge gobs of money for it.

    The reason the Big 3 can’t beat the Prius (and can’t do anything) is, surprisingly enough, greed. The Prius was rumored to be selling at a loss for years. Although probably profitable now, the margin is very low.

    Compare to your fully loaded $50k Suburban, who’s profit margin is huge. The bigger cars and trucks, have the biggest profit margin. So you can either sell a few at a huge margin, or sell a lot a narrow margin.

    If Big3 were to enter a volume war with Tokyo, I don’t know if they could win. Many US factories have been closed already, operating capitol is all but depleted, and retirement benefits are crippling these companies.

    Which leads me back to greed. Greed is the motivation for seeking a high margin model rather than a high volume model. Greed is the reason these companies are crippled with health care and retirement expenses.

    If Big3 had been more generous with employees decades ago, they wouldn’t have entered into the Union wars back in the 70′s and 80′s. If they had been more generous at negotiating the outcome of those wars they would have chosen to pay out larger salaries, rather than deferring the cost in ridiculous pension and health care promises.

    I think the only hope for Big3 is Chapter 11. If they can find a sympathetic judge to dismiss their pension and health care obligations, then they may be able to rebuild their infrastructure and operating capitol.

    But frankly, I think if they did declare Chapter 11 and come out clean, they would just pat themselves on the back and all jump ship with giant golden parachutes (mixed metaphor).

    Until the US industries get less greedy and more forward looking, I don’t see anything changing. They have to start planning 20-30 years in the future if they want to have any hope of competing on the global market. This Quarter-to-Quarter business model being produced by business schools is ultimately self defeating.

    -Dan

  • Jerry

    Wagoneer in 2004- we need to increase shareholder value! Hybrids lose money!

    2007- GM layoffs and Toyota will open a new plant in Tupulo

    Bill can you confirm that info and get it out to CNN!

  • Mitchell

    A day after receiving Oscar glory for a documentary on global warming, former Vice President Al Gore was called a hypocrite by a Tennessee group saying his Belle Meade home is using too much energy.

    The home’s average month electric bill topped $1,359, according to the group.

    “As the spokesman of choice for the global warming movement, Al Gore has to be willing to walk (the) walk, not just talk the talk, when it comes to home energy use,” said Drew Johnson, president of the Tennessee Center for Policy Research.

    Well, here’s the other side of the story:

    http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070226/NEWS01/70226055

    Electric bills obtained by The Tennessean, however, showed that Gore is paying a premium on his bills to be part of the “green power” program. Gore purchased 108 blocks of “green power” for at least each of the last three months, according to a summary of bills from Nashville Electric Service.

    That’s a total of $432 a month spent to pay extra for solar or other renewable energy sources. NES power – outside this program – is derived largely from coal, which emits carbon, a green house gas.

    The green power purchased by Gore in those three months is equivalent to recycling 2.48 million aluminum cans, or recycling 286,092 pounds of newspaper, according to comparison figures on the utility’s Web site.

    Gore’s movie details how greenhouse gases are trapping heat next to the earth, causing a changing climate with melting ice caps and more violent storms.

    “Every family has a different carbon footprint,” said Kalee Krider, a spokeswoman for Gore.

    The Gore’s 10,000 square foot house on Lynnwood Boulevard doesn’t have a small one.

    The Green Power Switch program, however, isn’t all he and his wife, Tipper, are doing, Krider said.

    They use compact fluorescent lights and are in the midst of a renovation project that includes having solar panels installed on their home to reduce fossil fuel consumption more, she said.

    Their car? A Lexus hybrid SUV.

    They put money into an investment company that Gore co-founded with a man named David Blood and it, in turn, sends the money to pay for solar, wind and other projects that reduce energy consumption around the globe.

  • Mitchell

    Unfortunately, this change will have no effect on the mileage values used by automakers to comply with CAFE regulations.

  • Bill

    Last night, Al Gore’s global-warming documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, collected an Oscar for best documentary feature, but the Tennessee Center for Policy Research has found that Gore deserves a gold statue for hypocrisy.

    Gore’s mansion, [20-room, eight-bathroom] located in the posh Belle Meade area of Nashville, consumes more electricity every month than the average American household uses in an entire year, according to the Nashville Electric Service (NES).

    In his documentary, the former Vice President calls on Americans to conserve energy by reducing electricity consumption at home.

    The average household in America consumes 10,656 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year, according to the Department of Energy. In 2006, Gore devoured nearly 221,000 kWh—more than 20 times the national average.

    Last August alone, Gore burned through 22,619 kWh—guzzling more than twice the electricity in one month than an average American family uses in an entire year. As a result of his energy consumption, Gore’s average monthly electric bill topped $1,359.

    Since the release of An Inconvenient Truth, Gore’s energy consumption has increased from an average of 16,200 kWh per month in 2005, to 18,400 kWh per month in 2006.

    Gore’s extravagant energy use does not stop at his electric bill. Natural gas bills for Gore’s mansion and guest house averaged $1,080 per month last year.

    “As the spokesman of choice for the global warming movement, Al Gore has to be willing to walk to walk, not just talk the talk, when it comes to home energy use,” said Tennessee Center for Policy Research President Drew Johnson.

    In total, Gore paid nearly $30,000 in combined electricity and natural gas bills for his Nashville estate in 2006.

  • Bill

    No matter how hard you try to defend your hero Albert Gore, the facts are that the Gores are big energy hogs who waste energy just because they can.

    If Gore was true to his word he would be in line with the rest of America, but not good old Al Gore, Mr. Two Faced in person.

    Just how much energy can one man waste, how about it Al Gore, can you waste any more energy then you already do each day?

  • Bill

    Mars Melt Hints at Solar, Not Human, Cause for Warming, Scientist Says
    Kate Ravilious
    for National Geographic News

    February 28, 2007
    Simultaneous warming on Earth and Mars suggests that our planet’s recent climate changes have a natural—and not a human- induced—cause, according to one scientist’s controversial theory.

    Earth is currently experiencing rapid warming, which the vast majority of climate scientists says is due to humans pumping huge amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. (Get an overview: “Global Warming Fast Facts”.)

    Enlarge Photo

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    RELATED
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    New Mars Pictures Show Signs of Watery “Aquifers” (February 16, 2007)
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    Mars, too, appears to be enjoying more mild and balmy temperatures.

    In 2005 data from NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor and Odyssey missions revealed that the carbon dioxide “ice caps” near Mars’s south pole had been diminishing for three summers in a row.

    Habibullo Abdussamatov, head of the St. Petersburg’s Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory in Russia, says the Mars data is evidence that the current global warming on Earth is being caused by changes in the sun.

    “The long-term increase in solar irradiance is heating both Earth and Mars,” he said.

    Solar Cycles

    Abdussamatov believes that changes in the sun’s heat output can account for almost all the climate changes we see on both planets.

    Mars and Earth, for instance, have experienced periodic ice ages throughout their histories.

    “Man-made greenhouse warming has made a small contribution to the warming seen on Earth in recent years, but it cannot compete with the increase in solar irradiance,” Abdussamatov said.

    By studying fluctuations in the warmth of the sun, Abdussamatov believes he can see a pattern that fits with the ups and downs in climate we see on Earth and Mars.

  • Armand

    Yes…let’s go “on a hint” that what’s happening on Mars is evidence on what’s happening here…right under our noses…great great comparison. :roll

    Give it a break already. Forget Al Gore….he made a movie to make some money and also to show what’s going on…that we’re pissing away resources, screwing up our immediate environment, going to war and killing thousands and tens of thousands of people.

    Is that how you think we should continue? Is that how you want to live?

    I’m not defending Gore by any means…but I’ll bet on one thing…so far he’s done more to cut is usage in power consumption than you ever will.

    And he’s also made more people aware that you ever could of a serious issue possibly facing us in our life time.

    To put it simply, I’d rather take initiative and do the right thing “just in case” than listen to right-wing nut jobs like yourself rant on about how environmentalists are lying YET neoncons creating wars and screwing countries over aren’t?

    Get real.

  • Bill

    You would love for all of us who don’t buy Gores crapola to just sit down and shut up so you can shove your agenda down our throats.

    Not going to happen, we are going to get loud and proud son, you need to understand that!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Gore is committing a sham on America, his film is full of half truths twisted to show what Gore wants you to believe.

    I guess to followers like you what we do here on earth is effecting all of the other planets as well.

    You liberals can’t see the forest for the trees in front of you!!!!!!!!!

  • Dan

    Probably shouldn’t but, oh well, here goes.

    Bill… I certainly concede that global warming has become a Dem’s ticket issue. I’m also equally sure that Gore, since he is a politician, is prone to lie, it’s a job requirement. I could personally care less if he is vilified or canonized. He’s a politicians and I simply don’t trust politicians , red or blue.

    That said, I think there are some points to Armand’s arguments that make sense. I’m with Bush on the need to cut foreign oil consumption. Since he too is a politician, I’m prone not to believe him. I would love it if the US went nationalist and cut all energy imports. But keep in mind that can’t happen if people keep getting Humvee and Tahoes. Although the motives between the Enviro-nuts and the Nationalist-nuts are at polar opposites, the course of action is the same. Cut oil consumption. Whether you do it to save the planet or to save the good ‘ol US of A, oil consumption must be reduced.

    You have every right (in the US at least) to disagree, vehemently if you must, but I’d be interested to hear how our continually increasing oil consumption for the next 100 years can be condoned without some dire consequences.

  • Mike

    Dan, I appreciate the nuetral comment, and agree in every respect.

    To fully believe in Gore or Bush is foolish, as they both are politicians, looking to gain “sucker points.” But they both have good points, and the intelligent people are the ones who sort through the garbage and truth, and ultimately reduce oil dependency and pollution, while stimulating the American economy.