2005-09-30 / Community

Pheffer Urges Federal Fuel Economy Testing

Assemblywoman Audrey I. Pheffer has introduced a resolution that calls upon the United States Congress to enact legislation to update the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) fuel economy testing procedures in absence of the EPA taking action to revise its testing procedures.

The Union of Concerned Scientists has reported that the EPA’s fuel economy tests are 30 years old, underestimate highway speeds, underestimate the severity of and amount of time spent in stop-and-go urban congestion, assume very gentle acceleration and braking, neglect the wide range of outdoor temperatures experienced in driving environments, fail to reflect the use of air conditions, over-estimate trip lengths, and ignore advances in automotive technology.

All of this adds up to the results found in a recent issue of Consumer Reports comparing the EPA fuel economy estimates with Consumer Reports fuel economy testing results for over three hundred vehicles for model-years 2000 to 2006. These results showed that 90% of vehicles tested achieved fewer miles per gallon than the figure reported by the EPA and that several models fell short of the EPA estimates by as much as 35 to 50%.

“Consumers rely on the EPA fuel economy estimates displayed on new motor vehicle window labels and in the annual Fuel Economy Guide to estimate their average annual fuel cost and to determine which vehicle to purchase,” said Pheffer.

The Union of Concerned Scientists estimated that American Consumers spent approximately $20 billion more on gasoline in 2004 than they would have expected to pay based on the EPA fuel economy estimates.

“Despite increasing numbers of complaints from consumers, the EPA has failed to take any regulatory action to update and revise its fuel economy testing and calculation procedures, ” said Pheffer. The resolution urges the U.S. Congress to enact H.R. 1103 which would require the EPA to update its fuel economy testing procedures to more accurately reflect modern driving conditions.

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