NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


August 31, 2004

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's test for mileage hasn't changed since 1974. Consequently, the tests likely overstate the actual mileage, note observers.

The EPA's "current" mileage tests assume:

  • No one drives more than 60 miles per hour when many states have set the limit at 65 or higher since 1995
  • The no one uses air conditioning, which can cut mileage by as much as 21 percent.
  • U.S roads are not any more congested than the 11-mile, 31-minute city-mileage test of 1974, when today there is much more stop-and-go driving.

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, U.S. Energy Department data show that U.S. drivers average 10 percent worse mileage than the EPA numbers indicate. Consumers deserve to know just how painful it will be every time they go to the pump, observers say, especially when world oil prices are nearing a record $50 a barrel.

Source: Editorial, "Outdated Car-Mileage Tests Steer Buyers Off Course," USA Today, August 20, 2004.


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