Mileage ratings shown on new cars and trucks may drop by an average of 2 to 4 mpg under new regulations announced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The new regulations also require automakers to include stickers on vehicles up to 10,000 pounds, as opposed to the previous requirement that included vehicles weighing less than 8,500 pounds. The changes, which include a new label, go into effect for 2008 models.
Present EPA rating standards haven’t been updated since 1985, and the new standards are intended to bring fuel-mileage estimates more in line with actual mileage. The new test procedures include higher speeds, faster acceleration, the use of air conditioning, and cold-weather operation. The EPA says that city mileage estimates for most vehicles may drop by about 12 percent, while highway estimates are expected to drop by about 8 percent on average.
Testing results may vary widely by model, being more severe for hybrids, which may show an average dip of 22 percent in city mpg and 13 percent for highway mpg.
The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers has a new Web site, www.mileagewillvary.com, which explains differences between the old and new ratings.