Fuel Mileage Testing Rethought by United Nations and European Union

Gas mileage is a growing concern. Recognizing that fact, the United Nations and European Union are partnering to create a new series of tests to rate fuel consumption in new vehicles under a worldwide standard.

The tests that are currently run to determine mpg are outdated and not realistic to the way that most of us drive. For example, the EPA test to determine mpg while driving in the city has the cars cover a distance of 11.04 miles at an average speed of 21.2 mph. While it is hard to devise a ‘perfect’ system, this test is very biased towards city drivers who have short commutes to work, and who drive slowly.

Instead, one of the possible new approaches would offer two mpg ratings: one for the best- and one for the worst-case scenario. The best case scenario test would have the car running with no extra energy being drawn by any of the vehicles auxiliary systems such as the air conditioning or headlights, and no extra weight in the vehicle. The worst case scenario would do the opposite, testing the car with a payload of passengers and the air conditioning cranked up with the headlights running.

The new mpg rating system, known as the worldwide light-duty vehicle test cycle, is still in development and should be ready in 2014. Don’t expect anything to move quickly though. After the system is devised, it will likely take at least three years to be implemented.