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Now that we know the price tag of the 2011 Chevrolet Volt, the car's last big secret is what will be on the EPA mileage sticker. We had a chance to talk with vehicle line director Tony Posawatz at the Plug-In 2010 Conference in San Jose, CA and got a little bit of insight into the matter. Posawatz acknowledged that General Motors is very close to a final agreement with the EPA on what must appear on the sticker for the 2011 models.

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2011 Lincoln MKX – Click above for high-res image gallery

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It's not all that often that you hear automakers cry out for stronger regulations and stricter guidelines. In fact, the cries typically go the other way, begging for less oversight and looser laws. So, when automakers band together suggesting changes to CAFE guidelines beyond 2016 that would take fuel economy figures to new heights, we should probably listen, right?

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2010 Audi S4 – Click above for high-res image gallery

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The EPA is aware that range-extended electric vehicles can game the current fuel economy test to deliver mileage estimates way up in the stratosphere. It makes for impressive advertising, like General Motors' touting of the Chevrolet Volt's estimated 230 mpg, but the EPA wants to give a more realistic reflection of the fuel efficiency of these types of cars, and it's not alone.

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The EPA is aware that range-extended electric vehicles can game the current fuel economy test to deliver mileage estimates way up in the stratosphere. It makes for impressive advertising, like General Motors' touting of the Chevrolet Volt's estimated 230 mpg, but the EPA wants to give a more realistic reflection of the fuel efficiency of these types of cars, and it's not alone.

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ETV Motors, the company behind the modified Prius with an extended-range microtubrine, believes that the EPA's emerging MPG methodology for plug-in vehicles – the one that allowed GM to proclaim a 230 mpg rating for the Chevy Volt and which Nissan used to say the all-electric Leaf gets 367 mpg – is clear as mud. The system makes it difficult for a consumer to relate to the resulting numbers "in any meaningful way to actual vehicle performance." ETV wrote an open letter that also says

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The Chevrolet Volt's 230 mpg number continues to be questioned. The latest to criticize is Bill Ford, who takes issue not only with the General Motors-approved 230 figure, but also Nissan's claim that its Leaf EV will get 367 mpg. The real culprit here, Ford said, is the EPA's methodology, which he argues is meaningless. "This question devolves into madness," Ford reportedly told Green Car Advisor:

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The Chevrolet Volt's 230 mpg number continues to be questioned. The latest to criticize is Bill Ford, who takes issue not only with the General Motors-approved 230 figure, but also Nissan's claim that its Leaf EV will get 367 mpg. The real culprit here, Ford said, is the EPA's methodology, which he argues is meaningless. "This question devolves into madness," Ford reportedly told Green Car Advisor:

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2011 Chevy Volt - Click above for high-res image gallery

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2011 Chevy Volt - Click above for high-res image gallery

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Click above for high-res gallery of the Ford Transit Connect

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Ahhh, progress. It's not news that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has changed the way they calculate a new vehicle's MPG numbers, but it wasn't until last week that we got to see how the agency's new fuel economy sticker that will now be on windows of 2008 model year cars and light trucks. The EPA lists seven " new, improved features" on the updated: fuel economy label.

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"They should always be viewed as estimates. We don't want consumers to view them as absolute values," Margo Oge, director of the EPA's transportation and air quality division, told the Chicago Tribune about the estimated MPG numbers that each new car sold in the U.S. bears.

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