New EPA MPG Estimates on Hybrids ~ Hybrid Car Review
Hybrid Car Review: New EPA MPG Estimates on Hybrids

Monday, February 26, 2007

New EPA MPG Estimates on Hybrids

The EPA has recently revamped their fuel economy ratings. The old tests were criticized for being outdated and just not very good at measuring what people were getting in 'real world' driving conditions. So, in 2008, all new vehicles will be rated using this new system.

The big question is, how are these new ratings going to affect hybrid cars? Most analysts predicted hybrids would be hit harder than other car segments. But first, let's see what the EPA has changed about their rating system.

The new rating system takes into account

  • Faster Speeds and Acceleration
  • Air Conditioner Use
  • Colder Outside Temperatures
MPG estimates will also be adjusted downward to account for factors that are difficult to replicate in a laboratory, such as
  • wind and
  • road surface resistance.
The FDA has set up a new site where you can view the changes in mpg ratings for individual vehicles if the new mileage tests were to be applied to the old cars.

New MPG Ratings for 2007 HybridsWhen I looked at how the new ratings would be applied to hybrid cars, I saw a 10% to 18% drop in fuel economy ratings (See table at the end of this post for New EPA MPG Estimates on 2007 Hybrids). This rate of change seems to be consistent whether you are talking about full hybrids or mild hybrids. Although, it's interesting to note the two cars with the most to lose (Prius and Civic Hybrid) did drop the most percentage-wise.

But, it seems that most cars are seeing about that much change. As you can see, I looked up the Toyota Corolla and Camry (non-hybrid, automatic, 4 cylinder), and both cars dropped 12% and 11%, respectively. According to GreenCarCongress, all cars will see some drop in their ratings, from 8% to 30%
Compared to today’s estimates, the city mpg estimates for the manufacturers of most vehicles will drop by about 12% on average, and by as much as 30% for some vehicles. The highway mpg estimates will drop on average by about 8%, and by as much as 25% for some vehicles.
But it looks like hybrid cars can still claim top position, especially over their conventional counterparts (gas only, same type), which are seeing just as big a drop, percentage-wise. The fuel economy improvement is slightly lower than it used to be, but that difference really is slight.

One other thing to keep in mind. Despite the drop in ratings to indicate a more 'real world' estimate, individuals are still going to see their mileage vary from these ratings. Some will continue to see higher (see hypermilers), while others will see lower (see your 16 year old cousin who just got his/her license).

New EPA MPG Estimates on 2007 Full Hybrids
Make Model Old/ New City
Hwy Combined
% Dropped
Toyota Prius Old 60 51 55 16%

New 48 45 46
Toyota Highlander Hybrid 2WD Old 32 27 29 10%

New 28 25 26
Toyota Highlander Hybrid 4WD Old 31 27 29 10%

New 27 25 26
Toyota Camry Hybrid Old 40 38 39 13%

New 33 34 34
Ford Escape Hybrid 4WD Old 32 29 31 13%

New 28 27 27
Ford Escape Hybrid FWD Old 36 31 34 12%

New 31 29 30
Lexus RX 400h 2WD Old 32 27 29 10%

New 28 25 26
Lexus RX 400h 4WD Old 31 27 29 10%

New 27 25 26
Lexus GS 450h Old 25 28 26 12%

New 22 25 23
Mercury Mariner Hybrid 4WD Old 32 29 31 13%

New 28 27 27
Honda Accord Hybrid Old 28 35 31 13%

New 24 32 27
Honda Civic Hybrid Old 49 50 51 18%

New 40 45 42
Mild Hybrids
Saturn Vue Hybrid Old 27 32 29 10%

New 23 29 26
Chevy Silverado Class 15 Hybrid 2WD Old 18 21 19 11%

New 16 19 17
Chevy Silverado Class 15 Hybrid 4WD Old 17 19 18 11%

New 15 18 16
Toyota Corolla (Automatic, 4 Cyl) Old 30 38 33 12%

New 26 35 29
Toyota Camry (Automatic, 4 Cyl) Old 24 33 27 11%

New 21 30 24

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Mike said...

The thing I found most surprising is that the new EPA numbers make hybrids look more affordable in that you can save more money on gas if you assume the new EPA numbers than with the old EPA numbers.


Ancient Uno said...

My 2006 Van gets exactly the mpg as indicated. The real question should be why aren't cars of today getting any better gas mileage than 25 years ago. That should be the real issue.

Mike said...

What it comes down to is weight. Your cars from 25 years ago were stripped down completely just after the oil embargo. After that the weight started creeping back up with safety features, electronics, gadgets, etc... It all adds up, and cuts down on fuel efficiency.

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