The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is looking to get more accurate with MPG statistics.
The agency is looking to tighten up its oversight of fuel economy testing and reporting in hopes that vehicle MPG ratings will stack up better with real-world results. According to the EPA, it will be focusing on the “coast-down” test, which has been the reason behind MPG recalls for various automakers including Hyundai, Kia, Ford and Mercedes-Benz. In the coast-down test, vehicles coast to a stop from 80 mph to generating readings on aerodynamic drag and friction in the drivetrain as well as other data points. Using that data, dynamometers are then programmed to simulate the vehicle’s behavior on real roads during laboratory testing.
By the end of the year, the EPA will issue updated guidelines for automakers on how they should conduct the testing. The agency also plans to continue accelerated audits of the automakers’ tests and could possibly mandate automakers to verify their own pre-production testing results with production models. The updated guidelines are meant to standardize coast-down test procedures, which currently vary among automakers.
In addition, the EPA will close a loophole that has existed for a decade that allowed automakers to test one vehicle and apply its MPG ratings to other vehicles sharing powertrains with similar weights. This is the loophole that resulted in Ford’s recall on the C-Max line last year, as it was assigned the same fuel economy rating as the Fusion Hybrid because the two vehicles share a powertrain.
[Source: Automotive News]
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