The EPA says it stands behind its fuel economy test for hybrid vehicles following controversy about the testing process after Ford C-Max Hybrid customers and automotive journalists alike struggled to achieve 47 miles per gallon, the advertised mpg number, Automotive News reports. Ford responded to the issue almost two weeks ago by claiming that a 1970s-era EPA general label rule was responsible for the inaccurate mileage numbers, rerating the C-Max Hybrid's mpg numbers and offering customers rebates. Ford later said it didn't overstate the C-Max Hybrid's fuel economy and that it was surprised by the low numbers.

Ford technically didn't do anything wrong because it was following the general label rule, but agency regulator Christopher Grundler says the automaker was exploiting a loophole when it came up with the hybrid C-Max numbers, and that the testing process remains accurate. The general label rule allows vehicles that use the same engine and transmission and are in the same weight class to share fuel economy numbers, but it doesn't take into account other factors such as aerodynamic efficiency, which affects hybrids more drastically than non-hybrid vehicles. Ford originally used the Fusion Hybrid economy figures for the C-Max Hybrid and claimed the engineers didn't realize that its aerodynamic efficiency would affect fuel economy as much as it did.

To address the increasingly commonplace practice of using the same powertrain in multiple applications, Grundler says, the EPA rules need to be changed so more car buyers are not mislead.

Toyota is standing with the EPA on this one after spurring a revision of test methods in 2006 after overstating Prius mileage numbers. Toyota said in a statement that it believes "the current labeling methodology established since 2006 provides appropriate fuel economy label values for customers, when automakers apply these rules with good common sense and engineering judgement." And yes, that sounds like a well-aimed but somewhat ill-timed shot from Toyota to Ford to us, too...



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  • 68 Comments
      Gordon Chen
      • 1 Year Ago
      Looks like Ford's check cleared
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
        Alfonso T. Alvarez
        • 1 Year Ago
        Sorry - this is not a political discussion and you are out in left field on this. Please return to Faux News - nothing, nada, zilch of this has anything to do with the 'current administration'. You are pathetic!
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Alfonso T. Alvarez
          [blocked]
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Alfonso T. Alvarez
          [blocked]
        Armand
        • 1 Year Ago
        This goes for any recent administration. Please stop trolling.
      VL00
      • 1 Year Ago
      "Ford originally used the Fusion Hybrid economy figures for the C-Max Hybrid and claimed the engineers didn't realize that its aerodynamic efficiency would affect fuel economy as much as it did." The BS meter is off the scale
        Stephen Liu
        • 1 Year Ago
        @VL00
        If that's seriously what their engineers thought, then their engineers' degrees need to be re-evaluated.
          Gordon Chen
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Stephen Liu
          We know that's not how it works in the corporate world. In fact, these engineers probably got promoted.
        Willy
        • 1 Year Ago
        @VL00
        BS meter off the scale like how 50 horsePOWER, can only generate 50 horsePOWER of energy <--(wink, wink)? Do you need more TIME to figure it out? And, HIi!
      Christopher Smith
      • 1 Year Ago
      Ford has been trying to blame the EPA for their overestimation, without having the stones to say it outright. How come all the other current hybrids aren't having the same problem, just these new Ford's? Honda Civic Hybrid had a problem 3-4 years ago, and didn't point any fingers. They knew they did wrong. Ford does too, they just are punks about it. Ford has the integrity of a President.
        john96xlt
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Christopher Smith
        First you say that only Ford Hybrids have this problem (and so far it's only one), and then you mention a second example (Honda) and the article mentions a third (Toyota). Looks like you have the integrity problem. You tried to circumvent this point by saying "current", but that doesn't work. Those Hybrids (Honda and Toyota) were new to the market at the time the mistaken ratings were posted, just like the C-Max.
          JakeY
          • 1 Year Ago
          @john96xlt
          Different issues. Both the Toyota and Honda problem occurred before the revised 2008 ratings (not fully in effect until 2012) and the EPA revised them exactly for this reason! Honda also did an update that lowered fuel economy (but improved battery longevity). The C-Max issue had nothing to do with inaccuracy in the ratings (the revised ratings are well into effect since it is 2013). It has everything to do with Ford using the Fusion's numbers. In fact, when tested under the EPA cycle, the numbers match what people were claiming (downgraded to 43 combined for post-update cars and 41 combined pre-update). Ford saw the loophole and took advantage of it. The claim that their engineers didn't know there was a significant aerodynamic efficiency difference between the Fusion and the C-Max doesn't pass the smell test.
      Armand
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'd be willing to forgive Ford if they weren't trying to cover up one lie with another lie. They must think we're truly idiots to believe they didn't know the real number and that they're "surprised". Truly pathetic!
        chanonissan
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Armand
        instead of them say sorry, and just be silent,and humble , they are trying to defend them selves with some old 1970 rule, that no other company uses, I mean Ford now make hyundai looks good, as EPA state they test the hyundai sonata hybrid and it was accurate.
          Anderlan
          • 1 Year Ago
          @chanonissan
          Luke, What's the freaking difference? They both published numbers that they knew were wrong (or they are stupidly and utterly incompetent) and that the public can easily tell are wrong. It seems that Ford is just publishing their self-serving justifications for lying, while Hyundai didn't. And you are buying those justifications as if you had stock.
          Luke
          • 1 Year Ago
          @chanonissan
          I guess you missed the part about their apology, their restating of numbers, and their offer of a rebate (which was calculated based on the EPA difference and the cost of that to the consumer)? There are difference here. Hyundai didn't exploit a loophole or make assumptions. They LIED. L-I-E-D.
      vripper
      • 1 Year Ago
      Ford, you need to just stop. First, it looks like you tried to cheat. Now you're admitting your engineers are incompetent.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
        Famsert
        • 1 Year Ago
        You wrote the same BS in the last article and I already called you out on it. Look at fueleconomy.gov's real life numbers on the civic hybrid and insight. Both DO meet or exceed their EPA numbers.
        Patrick
        • 1 Year Ago
        LOL
        normc32
        • 1 Year Ago
        You never seen "Honda Fleets Sales Uncovered", how they are not reporting fleet sales as they don't have a fleet sales office, reported here?
      Frazgo Fraz
      • 1 Year Ago
      If you drive a c-max like a hybrid and practice hypermiling techniques its really easy to beat the EPA estimates. I consistently get 49-52.5 in a Cmax when I drive one. Ford needs to give driving lessons for new hybrid owners so they can get the numbers.
      Luke
      • 1 Year Ago
      Of course Toyota's siding with the EPA on this. They can't agree with Ford. Ford is a threat to them in the hybrid world.
        Stephen Liu
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Luke
        The EPA already changed their testing methods because of Toyota back in 2006. I'm sure their competitive nature is far from the only reason they'd side with the EPA.
        nsxrules
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Luke
        Luke, each one of your posts is dumber than the last. WOW
        icemilkcoffee
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Luke
        Luke: You are aware that Toyota makes MORE profits than Ford, GM and Chrysler combined, and has for a number of years now, right?
      Spec
      • 1 Year Ago
      Ford found a loophole that was big enough to drive a car through it . . . but this sleazy tactic is backfiring on them. "the engineers didn't realize that its aerodynamic efficiency would affect fuel economy as much as it did." is just not a credible statement. As if Ford doesn't know what a wind tunnel is.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
        Armand
        • 1 Year Ago
        What does government have to do with Ford lying about fuel ratings by using number from another vehicle, deliberately? Do you work for Ford's PR team? A little to desperate...
      RGT881
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'm beginning to think that it's the EPA goons at fault here rather than Ford. Of course Ford was just fine with the MPG numbers, but it's the outdated guidelines which are at fault here.
        Christopher Smith
        • 1 Year Ago
        @RGT881
        Just like our government, they have a big, powerful PR team. There job is to wear you down with the lies. That doesn't mean I believe their lies the more I hear them. My BS meter is a lot more accurate than Ford's EPA ratings, let's put it like that.
        Armand
        • 1 Year Ago
        @RGT881
        I am beginning to think the Ford PR team is hard at work on these boards... It takes a special kind of idiot to blame EPA for Ford's deliberate use of loophole/wrong economy numbers. Nothing wrong with the test and owners of other hybrids meat their EPA numbers.
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