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Hi, I'm a reporter with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in North Texas. I'm working on a story about new federal regulations that will require the EPA to update their mileage test for new cars so they're a bit closer to reality. I'm interested in talking to North Texans who can talk to me on the phone about their experience buying an automobile (Prius or otherwise), expecting a certain mileage, only to get a very different real-world mileage after driving the car off the lot. Since I'm essentially looking for people who are very mindful about the amount their gas mileage, I figured this site was a good place to go.
If interested, please call me or email me with your number and when would be a good time to call you.
Thanks,
Aman Batheja
Reporter, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
(817)390-7752
[email protected]
 

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I can't help you; I knew before I bought that the EPA figures were inaccurate.

Even without changing the EPA's methodology it would be better to state fuel consumption the way the Europeans do it, as fuel/distance, because that more clearly indicates how much fuel will be used. Stating it that way the difference between the EPA's estimated 1.82 gal/100 miles and my observed 2.08 gal/100 miles for combined city and highway driving is much less alarming than in the conventional comparision. So, in driving a hundred miles I'll use four more ounces of gas than the EPA said I would? Big whoop. One careless overfill accident would spill more than that.

It also shows more viscerally how much better a Prius does than, say, a Tahoe: 5.88 gal/100 miles EPA combined. I'll note that a cow-orker reports getting 6.67 gals/100 miles.
 

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Of course EPA figures are unrealistic - been unrealistic in every car I've ever owned. Useful, I suppose, as a comparison of relative unrealistic numbers - a Camry will not get the posted 26 EPA miles, and a Hummer will not get the posted -3 EPA miles, etc. But I didn't realize people really believed the figures on the sticker for other than relative performance.

At least it is a comparison of imaginary apples to apples, so I guess there's some merit. Just don't believe everything you read - especially at a car dealer. Even if it's from 'the government, and we're here to help you.'
 

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Rather than have a bunch of legislative bureaucrats tell the EPA engineers how to test mileage, they should just outlaw fuel consumption meters in cars. That way, the 7 people in the whole world obsessed enough to keep accurate pump and mileage records will remain the only ones who know or care about the difference between EPA numbers and "real-world".

Anyway, Consumer Reports already provides the service of coming up with "real-world" consumption numbers (i.e. irreproducible results). Let's leave that to the private sector.
 

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I echo the last post in that Consumer's Reports does very realistic testing for mileage estimates.

If EPA is going to stay in business as an "official" government source of mpg, my opinion is, they should buy the process, test procedures, etc from Consumer's and merely be a publisher of the numbers for car stickers for comparison purposes.

In my opinion, EPA numbers for the Prius are no more unrealistic than for any other vehicle. It is just the "tyranny of large numbers" grabs public attention.

A large SUV quoted as 12mpg EPA, means that if you miss the EPA # by 20% you are getting 2.4 mpg less than EPA. The same 20% miss on a Prius EPA of 60mpg means you miss the EPA by 12 mpg...and that sounds huge, but it is not. It is the same 20% lower.

That's the "tyranny of large numbers".
:roll:
 

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One other problem of the EPA test is that they use a dynamometer. This is good for testing engine efficiency, but does not properly check the CAR'S efficiency, taking into account for wind drag, vehicle weight and other things that would reduce a car's mileage. However, unless this is done on an indoor track using robots to drive the car, there could be too many variables here too, such as ambient air temperature and humidity, ambient winds, and style of driving.
 
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