The Environmental Protection Agency has said it "will look at the report and data" from Consumer Reports indicating that the 2013 Ford C-Max and Fusion hybrids don't come close to achieving their fuel economy estimates of 47 miles per gallon. In CR testing, the C-Max Hybrid averaged 37 mpg; the Fusion Hybrid averaged 39.

CR reports that the 10-mpg difference recorded with the C-Max represents "the largest discrepancy between our overall-mpg results and the estimates published by the EPA that we've seen among any current models." For reference, the Toyota Prius came up six mpg short of EPA estimates under CR's testing.

So, what happens if the EPA finds a discrepancy in Ford's mileage claims? According to The Detroit News, automakers may face civil penalties over misstated claims. Just a few weeks back, Hyundai and Kia were found to have overstated mileage estimates for 1.1 million vehicles sold in the US and Canada, prompting the automaker to compensate owners for their now-reduced mileage figures. Lawsuits, reductions in consumer confidence and even inquiries from politicians are also potential problems in the pipeline.

It's too early to suggest such drastic measures will be taken by Ford, especially since "a hybrid vehicle is going to be far more variable than a conventional vehicle" when it comes to observed fuel mileage, according to Linc Wehrly, director of light-duty vehicle center compliance division at the EPA's Ann Arbor laboratory.

Ford, for its part, issued the following statement to Consumer Reports: "Early C-Max Hybrid and Fusion Hybrid customers praise the vehicles and report a range of fuel economy figures, including some reports above 47 mpg. This reinforces the fact that driving styles, driving conditions and other factors can cause mileage to vary."


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  • 314 Comments
      Dave
      • 2 Years Ago
      Would it really be that difficult to set up a single independent testing facility that manufacturers bring their cars to for testing?
        Daniel Gray
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Dave
        It would certainly take some resources, but I'd work there in a heartbeat. :)
      Vinuuz
      • 2 Years Ago
      Wonder why they never ever investigated the GMC Terrain/Chevy Equinox twins!
      mikelookup
      • 2 Years Ago
      Why doesn't the EPA evaluate these claims long before the vehicle is put on the car lot. This just hurts the consumer and the builder. The EPA has been around awhile and still does not know what it is doing
      skipperjim123
      • 2 Years Ago
      i bought c max a week ago could only get 37/38 city and highway dealer said it takes about 2000 miles to break it in i got 800 miles now still no change in mileage i turned air off and drove slower not muched change i should have kept my 2010 chevy equnoix
        stirlingt
        • 2 Years Ago
        @skipperjim123
        How fast do you drive? Speed has a lot to do with MPG
      RAY
      • 2 Years Ago
      To joynerz, Consumer's Report is as good an independant laboratory as you will ever get. I seldom buy anything unless I first see how it was rated by CR. They get you past all the advertising bluster to let you know what works and what doesn't. I've been a Consumer's Report subscriber for 27 years and have never bought a faulty product. Try it. It's guaranteed to impress.
      Blastmsco
      • 2 Years Ago
      if ford is correct then it should be able to reproduce the results. thus ford should redo the tests with CR experts present. Prove it or loose it.
      Will Shields
      • 2 Years Ago
      I guess Toyota's pay off to Consumer reports is paying off. If their findings were simply about Ford, why even mention how it stacked up against Toyota?
        joynerz
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Will Shields
        Kia has already been caught for fudging on their claims. Was fined, but not enough as far as I'm concerned since they were fined only the difference between the claimed and actual mileage. The false claim still enabled them to sell the car.
      keysdiesel2
      • 2 Years Ago
      nor do any of the jap cars, so whats the big deal.So lets waste some more money on an investigation!
      jyates1936
      • 2 Years Ago
      Even when Ford came out with their 47-47 claim I was suspicious of the figure. My 2004 Prius only gets 45-50. Well, let the Feds figure it out. Ford is making some good cars lately and I would buy one without hesitation. About time American made cars are catching up with the Asians and Germans.
      aldebaran042363
      • 2 Years Ago
      most cars/trucks seldom if never get the MPG's the manufactures report them to be, these vehicles are tested under idea conditions.
        ga7smi
        • 2 Years Ago
        @aldebaran042363
        I had a Mazda MX6 in the late 90's - 6 banger 18 valve fuel injected automatic - got 36 mpg at 80 mph - my wife has a 2002 Nisson Atltima with a 4 banger 16 valve fuel injected 5 speed - gets 40mpg or better at 60 mph - who is ripping you off now?
        • 2 Years Ago
        @aldebaran042363
        [blocked]
        Will Shields
        • 2 Years Ago
        @aldebaran042363
        The funny part about it is that if you go to fueleconomy.gov (The EPA's website) it is reporting the same as Ford. And now the EPA makes a big deal about investigating the claims?
      autobod8
      • 2 Years Ago
      NOBODY INVESTIGATED TOYOTA WHEN THE PUBLIC WAS LIED TO ABOUT THE PRIUS 60 MPG MY ASS 42 TO 45 MAX
        graphikzking
        • 2 Years Ago
        @autobod8
        My wife has the "60mpg" prius. She has averaged about 48mpg over the life of the car. 90,000 miles so far on her odometer. In the winter with the heat on and car warming up etc she averages about 42-43 mpg. In the summer and spring/early fall it gets 49-54mpg. So it's not 60 but it's also on the OLD testing cycle of the EPA where all cars got more.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @autobod8
        [blocked]
      PeterScott
      • 2 Years Ago
      This isn't about driving style as so many assume. This is about cheating on the EPA test. Consumer Reports didn't drive around with a lead foot and get lower result. Consumer Reports is just the latest to discover the discrepancy when they did their own specific fuel economy tests. What is important about Consumer Reports result is that they have set procedures that involve a reliable test procedure that CORRELATES strongly with the EPA results. They test 80 cars a year and normally they all beat their EPA highway rating. Any car that doesn't is a red flag that something is up. Here is a comparison of a bunch of different manufacture/drivetrain types: Car Model: EPA Highway - CR Highway Prius: 50 MPG - 55 MPG Prius C: 46 MPG - 48 MPG F-150 V8: 19 MPG - 22 MPG Corvette: 26 MPG - 28 MPG Durango VS: 22 MPG - 26 MPG Audi A4: 29 MPG - 35 MPG Golf TDI: 41 MPG - 49 MPG BMW 328 4cyl: 36 MPG - 40 MPG Ford Fiesta: 37 MPG - 42 MPG Durango VS: 22 MPG - 26 MPG Insight: 43 MPG - 45 MPG Civic: 39 MPG - 43 MPG Altima 4cyl: 38 MPG - 44 MPG Camry 4cyl: 35 MPG - 41 MPG Camry Hybrid: 38 MPG - 43 MPG That is a big cross section of manufacturers, and drivetrains everything from 4cyl to V8, Diesel to hybrid and they ALL BEAT EPA highway MPG on Consumer Reports testing. That is extremely STRONG correlation. Which means is you can use CR to estimate EPA and vice versa and you can use them as sanity test to flag cheaters. Now lets look at cars that failed to meet EPA: Hyundai Elantra: 40 MPG - 39 MPG - 1 MPG short Ford Fusion Hybrid: 47 MPG - 41 MPG - 6 MPG short Ford CMax Hybrid: 47 MPG - 38 MPG - 9 MPG Short! Since the CR testing. Hyundai has been caught cheating and had to roll back it's highway numbers, so the Elantra is now rated at 37 MPG Highway and is no longer short. The thing is, if coming even 1 MPG short is sign of cheating, then what is 6 MPG short and 9 MPG short like Fords are showing a sign of? Cheating no doubt, but cheating to a much larger degree. Hopefully Ford is dealt with swiftly and serve as an example to deter future cheats.
        godwhomismike
        • 2 Years Ago
        @PeterScott
        Thank you!!!! Your reply is a lot more informative than the actual article itself. It will be interesting to see if the EPA makes Ford roll back the fuel economy on the CMax as far back as Consumer Reports results.
          Daniel Gray
          • 2 Years Ago
          @godwhomismike
          I'm in one right now, Mike. It's not nearly as bad as CR makes it out to be.
        Daniel Gray
        • 2 Years Ago
        @PeterScott
        Take a look at CR's combined results with hybrids. They seem to have a problem with hitting the numbers.
          PeterScott
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Daniel Gray
          Of course CR doesn't try to Hypermile cars and nor should they.
          PeterScott
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Daniel Gray
          Dan, CR's highway fuel economy test is multiple passes at steady 65 MPH. What should they do different to test the C-Max hybrid? Pulse and Glide? How would that not be hypermiling?
          PeterScott
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Daniel Gray
          There is a little more to it than that. You run into issues when you combine numbers that have different correlation values. To keep the correlation sane you should really keep the numbers separate. Most cars score MUCH lower on CR city test, this is both gas and hybrid. Most cars score a bit higher CR highway test, again both gas and hybrid. An interesting thing happens when you compare percentages: Civic Hybrid City: 44 MPG EPA, 28 MPG CR: Compare: 64% Highway: 44 MPG EPA, 50 MPG: Compare: 114% Combined 44 EPA, 40 MPG CR: Compare: 90% Civic EX City: 28 MPG EPA, 18 MPG CR: Compare: 64% Highway: 39 MPG EPA, 43 MPG: Compare: 110% Combined 32 EPA, 29 MPG CR: Compare: 90% Notice two things: 1) Comparing as percentages they have extremely similar behavior, the exact same failure to meet city economy and combined economy. They only differ in highway, where the hybrid pulls ahead. 2) that despite being equal on City percent and ahead on highway, they are only tied on combined. This is because starting with a proportionally bigger city where the big drop happens for all cars in the test, tilts the results against hybrids in the meaningless (for correlation with EPA) combined number. If you correlate combined numbers you lose all meaning in the data.
          Famsert
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Daniel Gray
          10 is bigger than 6, Dan.
          Daniel Gray
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Daniel Gray
          Peter - I may be completely off with this, but it seems that CR makes little or no effort to optimize their driving style when driving hybrids. The Ford and Toyota hybrid systems reward drivers that pay attention to the feedback devices. It just takes a wee bit of discipline to modulate your right foot to take advantage of the electric propulsion system. There are definitely issues with the EPA testing procedure, but the C-Max glides well. It's up to the driver to take advantage of that.
          godwhomismike
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Daniel Gray
          Dan, are you going to get a CMax to test for MPGoMatic?
          Daniel Gray
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Daniel Gray
          It'll all be in my publicly posted transmedia report, Peter. It will be available for free. Suffice to say, the C-Max doesn't want to glide at 65.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @PeterScott
        [blocked]
          Stephen Liu
          • 2 Years Ago
          Toyota didn't admit to cheating because they didn't; however, the Prius and the Insight were the "straw that broke the camel's back" so to speak, as the EPA changed how they tested their cars afterwards to take into account not only how hybrids behave but also changes in typical driving habits. EPA ratings dropped for every single vehicle on the market across the board and are much more realistic, regardless of vehicle. The CMAX and Fusion Hybrid are two anomalies in this.
          • 2 Years Ago
          [blocked]
          Dean Hammond
          • 2 Years Ago
          Im not sure SVX, their vehicles may get exactly what the EPA test gave them in the first spot...reality then is the flaw is pointed firmly at how the EPA tests vehicles.....if this keeps happening it may prompt a change.....
        fefifofum
        • 2 Years Ago
        @PeterScott
        I like how you are assuming they are cheating, well we will find out soon enough. I can't wait for the conspiracy theories from some of you when they are found to be telling the truth.
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