US: some drivers claim better mileage than automakers advertise image

While usually automakers have had to restate their fuel economy figures because they were higher than they could be achieved under real world usage, a new study has found Americans to be skeptical about the mileage figures of new vehicles for a surprising reason.

The research has found the reason is that an increasing tally of drivers believe the reported numbers are erroneous because their current vehicle actually achieves better fuel economy and figures advertised through the official labels. A new AAA survey claims a third of US drivers consider the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new vehicle window sticker is an accurate indicator of the fuel economy achieved when driving. That could also be because consumer experts have complained for years about the EPA fuel economy tests, conducted under laboratory settings that are unable to match the rear-world performance of vehicles. Automakers have been caught submitting erroneous data on more than one occasion and the stating are further complicated because battery electrics have ratings calculated through a mathematical formula that equals battery usage to typical fuel economy figures of traditional internal combustion engine-powered autos.

AAA decided to analyze data collected by EPA’s FuelEconomy.gov website, translating everything into laboratory and real-world vehicle testing – finding that most fuel economy modifications are triggered by driver behavior and environmental conditions. Surprisingly, among the collected data by the EPA, self-reports stated eight out of ten drivers were achieving better mileage than combined city and highway EPA mileage rating for their vehicle. That concerned drivers of certain categories – such as users of manual transmission, diesel and large V8s in trucks, according to the AAA.