- Aug 10, 2004
Well-known motorists club AAA says many cars and trucks it road-tests fall far short of their government fuel-economy ratings.
Using that disappointing fuel economy data from hundreds of road tests in what AAA calls real-world driving, the organization plans to endorse legislation to be introduced Thursday that would require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (news - web sites) to overhaul its gas-mileage tests.
Environmental groups have argued for years that mileage labels are bogus, but it is significant that AAA is throwing its influence behind the bill to change them. (Related: Drivers irked as mileage fails to add up)
"There's no doubt that it helps. And it highlights the fact that it's just common sense - providing consumers with accurate information," says David Friedman, a research director for the Union of Concerned Scientists. UCS strongly backs legislation to require realistic mileage ratings.
AAA data come from tests done by drivers across the country "getting groceries, getting stuck in traffic jams, driving the same way you would," says AAA spokesman Mantill Williams.
The organization concedes that its tests aren't scientific but insists the results are representative.
Among vehicles that were farthest off of EPA: 2004 BMW Z4 sports car, which AAA says hit just 14.5 miles per gallon in combined city-highway use, vs. 24 mpg EPA rating; Chevrolet TrailBlazer SUV, 13.6 mpg in AAA testing vs. 17 mpg EPA rating; Chrysler PT Cruiser, 17.5 mpg from AAA vs. 25 mpg EPA rating.
This is news, but probably a bit political. Here are both R and D working to change it, the upside here? Is that manufactures will actually have to build more effecient cars and trucks, they have been scamming to make their CAFE numbers. This is a benefit for everyone! But while they are going to require a more accurate test, why not put in an increase for CAFE requirments.The so-called Fuel-efficiency Truth-in-Advertising act would require EPA tests to "reflect modern driving patterns and experiences, specifically speed and highway-vs.-urban driving," says Rep. Nancy Johnson (news, bio, voting record), R-Conn., co-sponsor of the bill with Rush Holt, D-N.J. "Those are no-brainers," she says.