EPA Shrinks MPG for 2008

March 31st, 2007

Old EPA mpg label 

Look familiar?  It should.  This label represents the way car makers used to tell you how many miles per gallon (mpg) to expect from your car.  However, if you’ve already started looking at ’08 automobiles, you may have noticed that mpg estimates look a little lower than usual.   Don’t worry.  The lower numbers don’t mean that gas guzzlers have suddenly flooded the market.  Instead, the EPA decided to update the way we figure out how many miles a given model gets on a gallon of gasoline.

Why change now?  First off, the government hadn’t updated its mpg measuring method since 1984.  The EPA points to higher highway speed limits and more vehicles equipped with standard air conditioning as key ways that driving has changed in the past two and a half decades.  The new testing methods account for these changes in calculating the new fuel economy figures.  With increased engine exertion resulting from the way we drive today, you’d figure that mpg’s would naturally decrease under the new testing methods, and they have.  Expect the average mpg to decrease by about 10% with more efficient models going down by as much as 30%.

The bottom line: When assessing mpg figures, compare 2008 models with other 2008 models, not with models from 2007 or earlier.  While the transition may require some adjustment for everyone, the EPA has taken a necessary step in ensuring that consumers get everything they expect from their vehicles.

To learn more, check out these links:

Yahoo Autos

The New MPG Sticker

- posted by Taeho Lim

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