Report reveals EPA deceives consumers, Congress by significantly overestimating fuel economy

Actual fuel economy closer to 15.9 mpg: Environmental group petitions EPA and DOT to revise outdated fuel economy testing methods

provided by Bluewater Network

he Bluewater Network last month released a report uncovering new information about how the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Transportation (DOT) are misleading consumers and the US Congress by overestimating the average fuel economy of passenger vehicles by as much as 34 percent.

    The release of Bluewater's report, entitled Fuel Economy Falsehoods: How government misrepresentation of fuel economy hinders efforts to reduce global warming and US dependence on foreign oil, coincides with EPA's release of their Annual Fuel Economy Guide.

    Bluewater Network submitted a June 2002 rulemaking petition to the EPA and DOT in an effort to pressure the agencies to address this problem. The petition urges EPA and DOT to revise the outdated test procedures and calculation methods to more accurately reflect today's driving conditions, and to report this more accurate information to consumers and policy makers.

    “Our federal agencies are lying to the public and policymakers about the fuel mileage of American vehicles. This is no time to play numbers games,” said Russell Long, Executive Director of Bluewater Network. “Overstating American fuel economy makes it more difficult to solve the problems of global warming and foreign oil dependence, because decision-makers need to rely on accurate and reliable information – not propaganda.”

    Fuel Economy Falsehoods brings attention to glaring discrepancies between how federal agencies portray fuel economy and the actual fuel economy which motorists achieve in real-world driving. While EPA and DOT proclaim that the “unadjusted average fuel economy” of model year 2001 vehicles was approximately 24 miles per gallon (mpg), Bluewater's report demonstrates that these vehicles are actually getting approximately 15.9 mpg.

    The report divulges that the test procedures and calculation methods EPA uses to determine fuel economy are based on surveys of traffic patterns conducted more than two decades ago. Significant increases in urban congestion, average highway driving speeds, and the percentage of driving taking place in urban areas have rendered the testing and calculation methods obsolete.