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New study confirms current mpg ratings are unrealistic

The results of an independent research project by the Automobile Club of Southern California's Automotive Research Center were released today, and they confirm what we already know - current EPA fuel economy figures don't represent real-world results for most of us.
The Automobile Club of Southern California (the largest affiliate of the national AAA), is one of the organizations that successfully lobbied the EPA to change fuel economy testing procedures to provide results more useful to consumers. (See our story here.)

Using its state-of-the-art vehicle test lab, the Auto Club tested 41 vehicles, representing 18 popular models. Combining road tests and lab tests, the investigation showed that 90 percent of the vehicles posted mileage below the current EPA estimate, by an average of 4 mpg (about 16 percent).

It turns out that the EPA's "USO6" emissions test (not usually used for fuel economy testing) actually came within 1 mpg of the real world data. The difference? The USO6 test simulates aggressive driving, traffic congestion, and high speeds. Seems like driving has changed a bit since the fuel economy tests were devised a few decades ago...

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