Study Finding More Accurate Fuel Economy than MPG Numbers

There is a dirty little secret when it comes to car-buying; most of the metrics we use to shop for a car mean jack-squat. Prices are a subjective figure, torque is more important than horsepower, and fuel economy is measured in terms that make little sense and are hard to prove. California college students have teamed up with a company to do something about the latter.

The whole miles per gallon system is flawed. Not only is the liter-per-100km measurement (employed by the UK) more telling, but the actual EPA testing system is not emblematic of real-world conditions. UC Riverside students teamed up with Motor Trend and a firm called Emissions Analytics to find more accurate fuel economy figures than those provided by the EPA.

Study Finding More Accurate Fuel Economy than MPG Numbers

While the EPA performs its test in a lab, Emission Analytics straps a device that measures MPG and emissions onto the vehicle and takes it out for real world driving. On a Honda Accord LX sedan, they found real-world MPG of 19.8 city, 33.6 highway, compared to the posted EPA numbers of 27/36.

PHOTOS: See More of the 2013 Honda Accord Sedan

But in some cases there were improved numbers. The Jetta 1.8T SE sedan scored 27.9 city and 39.2 highway in the study’s real-world testing, which was up from the EPA numbers of 25/36. About 100 cars have been tested, and found that on the whole- the difference was less than one percent between the EPA and real-world tests.

Study Finding More Accurate Fuel Economy than MPG Numbers

“However, differences for individual vehicles vary from about minus 20 percent to plus 20 percent,” said Emissions Analytics founder and CEO, Nick Molden, “which shows that the EPA does not characterize typical driving patterns that well.” Emissions Analytics is calling its ratings True MPG in the hopes that it will become the destination for shoppers looking to know what kind of fuel economy their car really gets. Time will tell if this becomes that destination– or if it forces the EPA to change its methods.

PHOTOS: See More of the 2011 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan

Image Source: URCToday

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