SOURCE: Automobile Club of Southern California

September 25, 2007 12:45 ET

Auto Club Reminds Car Shoppers That 2008 Models Will Show Lower "Real World" Miles per Gallon

Auto Club Study Helped Push EPA to Revise New Car Fuel Economy Labeling

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwire - September 25, 2007) - New cars, beginning with the 2008 models that are now rolling into dealership showrooms, will have labels that reflect fuel economy results that are more similar to "real world" results than prior year models, and most likely will show lower miles per gallon than had been previously stated, says the Automobile Club of Southern California.

The Environmental Protection Agency agreed in 2006 to revise testing procedures for fuel economy labeling after consumer groups, including AAA and the Auto Club, demonstrated that prior procedures did not reflect real world driving conditions. A 2006 Auto Club research study confirmed that the former testing system EPA uses to determine miles-per-gallon ratings in many instances significantly over estimated real world fuel economy ratings because it does not account for the way people drive today. Most consumers that purchased new vehicles in recent years rarely saw their personal fuel economy equal what was stated on the sales label.

"Car buyers will now have more accurate fuel economy information, and that's a great step forward for consumers," said Steven Mazor, Manager of the Automotive Research Center (ARC) of the Auto Club. "We're pleased that the EPA implemented these changes so consumers get a clearer, more accurate view of how many miles per gallon (mpg) the car they want to buy will actually get."

The Auto Club's ARC technicians gathered owner mpg data from 41 vehicles, representing 18 models that include the most popular vehicles on the road today. The results showed that 90 percent of the vehicles experienced mileage worse than what the EPA estimated -- by an average of four mpg or an average deviation of 15.7 percent. ARC researchers then conducted a series of tests using an existing EPA test typically used for monitoring emissions called the "USO6" test. This test simulates aggressive driving, congestion and high speeds -- a closer resemblance of everyday driving. The results showed that the USO6 test resulted in only a one mpg, or a 4.4 percent deviation. This is the test that the Auto Club and AAA recommended be used as the basis of the EPA fuel economy tests.

"Motorists should know that there will never be a perfect test for determining their mileage," added Mazor. "However, if we want to maximize our mileage and be sensitive to our environment, we must remember that how we maintain our vehicle and how we choose to drive significantly contribute to saving money at the gas pump and conserving fuel."

The Automobile Club of Southern California, the largest member of the AAA federation of motor clubs, has been serving Southern California since 1900. Today, the Auto Club's members benefit by roadside assistance, insurance products and services, travel agency, financial products, automotive pricing and buying programs, automotive testing and analysis, trip planning services and highway and transportation safety programs. Information about these products and services is available on the Auto Club's Web site at www.AAA.com.

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