Every once in a while government can offer a glimpse of hope by doing things that make sense. And that's what happened when the Environmental Protection Agency said it wants to put automakers’ mileage claims to the test.
An EPA proposal would require automakers to road test vehicles to verify mileage claims posted on window sticker prices, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing EPA officials.
The move follows the recent restatement of EPA ratings on several cars and light trucks by Hyundai, Kia and Ford. And what do you suppose is the EPA's #1 consumer complaint? You guessed it... Inaccurate mileage claims.
“Some automakers already do this, but we are establishing a regulatory requirement for all automakers,” Chris Grundler, director of the EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality, told The Journal.
The proposal also would make it difficult for automakers to manipulate lab results to deliver higher mileage claims, the paper said. Ford revised mileage estimates on several hybrids last month, while Hyundai is being sued by consumers in South Korea over accusations it overstated the fuel efficiency of the Santa Fe crossover.
In 2012, Hyundai and affiliate Kia apologized and then began a compensation program to owners for overstating mileage estimates on vehicles sold in the United States.
At Ford, the recent mileage claims were based on poor testing conditions and faulty engineering practices, including wind tunnel and other laboratory measurements.
The EPA, as The Journal noted, does not evaluate every new light-vehicle to verify mileage claims. Most fuel economy tests are performed by automakers, and the information is later shared with and reviewed by the agency.
The data is also published on the agency’s public Web site, www.fueleconomy.gov.
The EPA last adjusted fuel efficiency testing in 2008, which narrowed the gap between window sticker numbers and what owners experienced in real-world driving.
The proposed road test would make real-world driving trials more rigorous and reflect air resistance and rolling friction on a test track rather than in a test lab, The Journal reported.