The Environmental Protection Agency is preparing a public report that will detail industry-wide audits of automaker fuel economy claims. Automotive News is reporting that the EPA ran tests on 20 or more car and truck models this year, with the goal of testing the veracity of OEM claims regarding fuel economy testing procedure.

The coast-down test is used to measure overall vehicle aerodynamics, rolling resistance and drivetrain friction.

At the heart of these audits is a procedure known as the "coast-down" test; the very same test that keyed officials in on problems with Kia and Hyundai window-sticker mpg numbers last year. The coast-down test involves bringing a car up to around 80 miles per hour and letting it coast to a stop. The process is used to measure overall vehicle aerodynamics, rolling resistance and drivetrain friction; the goal being an accurate calibration of the EPA's dynamometer, which is then subsequently used to run test cycles and estimate mpg data.

Christopher Grundler of the EPA's Office of Transportation and Air Quality has declined to comment on the audit results with the official report due out sometime this fall, but he did tell AN that the results "will be very interesting to some people."

The EPA has only begun regularly auditing this sort of test data submitted by automakers for about three years now, and Grundler believes that reports like the one upcoming are important information for the public at large. The actual results from this coast-down test are "coefficients from a mathematical formula" that are not easy to parse for your average car buyer, but Grundler said in his interview that the reports findings would be delivered in "plain English."

Apparently the test is neither easy nor cheap for the EPA, as it requires a level two-mile stretch of straight track. This year the agency paid to use the Chrysler proving grounds in Chelsea, MI, along with two unnamed tracks in Arizona.


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  • 23 Comments
      Flat4
      • 1 Year Ago
      Scr3w the Employment Prevention Agency.
      EVnerdGene
      • 1 Year Ago
      Whoa, coast down tests. That's some hi-tech stuff man. Takes hundreds of PhDs and hundreds of millions of dollars to do stuff like this.
      Steve
      • 1 Year Ago
      Honestly I don't care about fuel efficiency, please legalize the R34 Skyline Vspec!
        John
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Steve
        Its not the EPA, they're illegal because they don't meet US safety standards. Otherwise it would be as simple as retrofitting some emmissions equipment and R34's would be everywhere. The good news is in 2014 the 1989 R32 GTR will be able to be legally imported as it will then be exempt from these standards. You'll have to wait until atleast 2024 before the R34 is a legal import unless the laws/mandates get changed.
        Chris O.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Steve
        It's not because of safety standards. Safety and emissions standards will likely be harmonized with Europe in the next 5-10 years, but you still won't be able to import a EU market car until the clock ticks down. That trade law was enacted to eliminate grey market imports competing with manufacturer imported vehicles. That practice was commonplace, though hardly widespread. Foreign manufacturers said that the practice discouraged them from setting up dealership networks within the country, and and domestic manufacturers didn't like the fact that grey-market imports didn't have to be saddled with the additional cost (and therefore, price) burden of warranty costs - as that's a significant percentage factored into the price of every new, fully-assembled car legally sold in the US.
      Spec
      • 1 Year Ago
      Uh . . . the EPA is not set to do a damn thing during this government shutdown.
        macutty
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Spec
        The shutdown is a theatrical farce. Of the 4 million federal employees less than 20% have been furloughed. No coincidence the agencies which deal with the public are shut, it makes for dramatic press conferences and news coverage al a veterans attempting to enter the war memorial in washington.
          raktmn
          • 1 Year Ago
          @macutty
          You are behind on your talking points. Those are so Tuesday that it isn't even funny. Today's talking points are that the shutdown is horrible because people on WIC won't get food. Nevermind Republicans recently voted to reduce funding to WIC. That was after yesterday's talking point is that the shutdown is horrible, because it effects kids with brain cancer. Nevermind Republicans ALSO recently voted to cut that program's funding also. But heck, at least you aren't trying to stick to the talking point the day before that, where the worst thing in the world was that the shutdown was keeping WWII vets out of a National Park. Nevermind the fact that Libertarian heros like Ron Paul have said over and over that ALL National Park land should be sold to private companies, and the govt shouldn't own any land.
          Chris O.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @macutty
          @macutty: I'm not really politically aligned here, but the shutdown is not a farce. I can help you with your numbers, as you don't seem to understand them very well. 2.2 million of that 4 million figure you're tossing around are military and "essential DOD" (which still sent home 50% of their workforce). Deeming these personnel "essential" was bipartisan, as was the clssification of employees in their respective categories. Another 500,000 in the Postal Service are unaffected because they are self-funded. In about 3 weeks, when reserve funds have run down, 920,000 will be out of work. That's about 70% of your figure, when you take out an agency that doesn't belong (the Postal Service), and essential defense. No matter what political leanings anyone has, they should be able to realize a shutdown is not good for this country.
        Cool Disco Dan
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Spec
        The EPA decided that over 90% of its workers were essential. They are open for business. They need to be to raid Alaskan mines in swat gear and close down as many coal plants as they can. The shut down really isn't a shut down at all.
          EZEE
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Cool Disco Dan
          @rak Well Fox may have a point. Althought the EPA has taken a hit, overall, 83% of the government is still operating. That really doesn't count as a full blown shutdown (although again, I don't watch Fox News nor cable news at all, since I have too much fun to watch tv, so your story may worse than I guestimated). But hey - I backed up your point. Where's the love?
          EVnerdGene
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Cool Disco Dan
          raktm said; "Cold dic dan, where you get those numbers? Fox News?" Just like a liberal to call people names and spew hate speech whenever anyone disagrees with them. True bigots - never met a liberal that didn't scream that they want the government to shut down Fox News every time they hear the words. Truly sick people. They support the 1st Amendment until someone disagrees with them. Then stand back and listen to the spew. bigot: 1. One who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices. 2.One who is strongly partial to one's own group (e.g. religion, race, gender, political party, etc.) and is intolerant of those who differ. rattmn, you fit the definition to a T
          raktmn
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Cool Disco Dan
          Cold dic dan, where you get those numbers? Fox News? Real numbers EPA 16,205 employees furloughed, a 94% furlough rate. That is 94% laid off, the exact opposite of 90% still working. I'd say look it up, it is easy to confirm, but since you are stuck in your right wing intentionally wrong echo chamber, you would probably come back and say your fat uncle/brother said the EPA actually doubled their staff.
          Cool Disco Dan
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Cool Disco Dan
          Rightwing ! FOX news! Echo chamber! I bet you feel important and like a big special man now don't you? Yeah I made a mistake and inverted the numbers. Not intentionally wrong but I can understand why you need to think that. It's ok not every one can have integrity.
          raktmn
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Cool Disco Dan
          EZEE - Dan's "The shut down really isn't a shut down at all" rhetoric is straight off of Fox News talking points. Sorry you don't recognize that. Dan -- I guess you can't just apologize when you are utterly and completely wrong on the facts, eh? Stop taking your talking points like "the shut down really isn't a shut down at all" straight off of Fox News and Tea Party Republican talking points, and you won't be so easily fooled into thinking 90% of the EPA still being at work would even be logically possible at all.
          EZEE
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Cool Disco Dan
          Leave it to me, your friendly Radical Right Wing Extremist, to settle this argument. I went to the NY Times, and Fox News, for answers, so nobody can scream about my sources. Or, so everyone can scream. Not sure... Anyway... The NY Times lists the number of EPA employees off the job at 94%. Fox News listed the number of EPA employees off the job at...(drum roll) 93.4%. So Cool Disco Dan, yes, Rak is a lefty, but he is usually good at using facts to make his point. Rak, I know your side is supposed to hate Fox News, but ignoring the commentary side, their news side consistently reports the same factual information - they may take a different opinion of the same info. In this case, they said, 'just 6.6% of EPA employees are essential'. Also, since Fox does report factual information, if you want to have some evil glee, use them for your sources when you can. Just like I always use HuffPo, or ny times.
          EZEE
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Cool Disco Dan
          @rak: "Based on estimates drawn from CBO and OMB data, 83 percent of government operations will continue. This figure assumes that the government pays amounts due on appropriations obligated before the shutdown ($512 billion), spends $225 billion on exempted military and civilian personnel, pays entitlement benefits for those found eligible before the shutdown (about $2 trillion), and pays interest costs when due ($237 billion). This is about 83 percent of projected 2014 spending of $3.6 trillion." This did not come from Fox News. Now, obviously some departments are hit harder than others, and Cool Disco was wrong on his point (me, being a slave to facts, pointed that out), but the government is largely still operating.
        Austin Too
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Spec
        The 350 employees at the Ann Arbor, MI EPA facility, some of whom are involved in fuel economy audits, are now on furlough.
      Walt
      • 1 Year Ago
      There are several web sites where owners can track their mileage and the general public can view the results before making a vehicle purchase decision. Thus, there is no longer any need for EPA testing or window sticker mileage claims. The idea that the government can somehow help you in your car buying decision has been proven futile, so it's time to put the decision making back where it belongs - on the car shopper.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      BahamaTodd
      • 1 Year Ago
      The coast down test isn't the actual testing. They are using the information to calibrate their dyno which is then used to do the testing.
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