If there's something that everyone should be able to agree on, it's that the current EPA fuel economy testing procedures are pretty lame. Between the unrealistic testing routine and the "fudge factors" that have been carefully manipulated as to avoid any CAFE pain, those numbers on the window sticker don't really serve as a measure of real-world mileage or even as a useful means in which to compare two vehicles. The head of the EPA wants to change this, and intends to propose new rules by the end of the year, with the goal of getting the rules into place by 2008. This may reverse the effects of this summer's Energy Bill, which retained the current testing method. Obviously, there's been a certain elevation of this issue in the eyes of the public since then, and thus the change of heart.
[JN - During the two years in which I owned my last vehicle I calculated its mileage the old fashion way at every fill up. After topping off the tank I?d set the trip odo to zero and drive until the tank was dry. Upon refilling I?d fill it all the way back up, print a reciept and write on it the number of gallons it took. After quickly dividing the number of miles showing on the trip odo by the amount of gallons I just bought, I?d know the real mileage immediately and write it on the reciept. When I sold my car the glove box was full of hundreds of receipts and I was able to calculate its average mpg over two years. Just don?t forget to reset the trip odo or it ruins the calculation for that tank!]