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EPA Fuel Economy Myth: Too High, Too Low?

Cliff posted more than 10 years ago | from the estimates-and-science dept.

Science 1378

ThosLives asks: "I have seen here on Slashdot , and just about every other publication, numerous articles about fuel cells, hybrid vehicles, and the inaccuracies of EPA fuel economy stickers. For instance, today there is a review of the Toyota Prius that had the famous line 'Since no car really achieves the EPA estimated mileage...' I happen to drive a car with an EPA sticker of 21 city 25 highway (all figures in miles per gallon). I've driven the car for 47000 miles and the lowest I've ever seen is 23 and some change; the highest, 36.3 (I'm probably about 60% highway 40% stop-and-go and yes, the high was on a long highway trip). My all-time average is about 28.5. As most people get less than the EPA mileage, how does the Slashdot readership fare when it comes to EPA sticker vs actual experience, and on what type of vehicle?""Am I a rare breed that can drive my car (2.0L I4, 170 HP, 6-speed manual) aggressively (I've had coworkers and friends say 'woah!' more than I'd like to admit *grin*) and still stomp the EPA sticker? Did I get lucky with a phenomenal car? Am I enough of a counter-example to thwart the belief that the EPA figures are 'too liberal'? Are fuel economy issues just FUD from [insert lobby group of choice]? Or is the answer simply 'it depends on how you drive, what you had for breakfast, and the color of your neighbors' cat?'"

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Thus the phrase... (5, Funny)

wayward_son (146338) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567242)

Your mileage may vary.

blue (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9567243)

butt chez

about right (2, Informative)

Sebastopol (189276) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567244)

i drive a saab 900 SE turbo. mileage should be around 27 hwy, I generally get 27, and on long trips the computer reads 30+.

city gets lower than the 22 rating, around 18.

It's just a guess-timate (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567251)

My Cavalier gets pretty close to the sticker on average, but blows its doors off on long interstate trips. Everyone likes good gas milage, but it's not like the dealership is lying to you. The car should be within the range of city to highway. If it isn't in there, then you should demand your money back.

Re:It's just a guess-timate (2, Insightful)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567353)

The car should be within the range of city to highway. If it isn't in there, then you should demand your money back.

I don't think that is that simple. The EPA tests are standardized, and I bet that if you drive in a manner, place and weather that the EPA tests use, you'd probably get those numbers. Drive in snow, rain, cold, heat (with A/C on) you might see something different. This is exactly why people say that benchmarks don't tell the whole story, the tests to arrive at the figures registered by the EPA is a benchmark, no more, no less.

I drive a 2000 Chevy Lumina. (2, Interesting)

the_rajah (749499) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567252)

It's a company car with the 3.4 liter engine. I am a fairly assertive driver and put at least 25,000 miles a year on it. I've had 3 very similar cars over the last decade and consistantly get over 25 mpg in a mix of Interstate and light city driving. I think the operative phrase here is "Your mileage may vary".

For some reason I seem to get reasonable good mileage regardless of what I'm driving. At one time, years ago, I had a 1976 Mercury station wagon, totally a battleship with a 460 V-8 and managed to average 14 mpg with that boat hauling my 5 kids and wife. Again, I emphasize that I'm not an economy minded driver. I am a "Get from point A to point B" with a minimum of fuss and delay sort. I never get more than 10 mph over the posted limit, so I mostly go with the usual flow out here in the plaines. A little over a year ago I drove my mom's Buick to Arizona for her. It's got that nice 3.8 liter engine and is not a light car. I drove 1,750 miles in two days and got 28 mpg, but admittedly it's all Interstate driving, but out West traffic moves at 80+ mph. I was reall surprised. I've also driven some larger Chrysler products on long trips with mileages that were similar. I've concluded that modern cars do a pretty durn good job of fuel economy even in some of the larger configurations.

"Do the Right Thing. It will gratify some people and astound the rest." - Mark Twain

Canadian stats are better (1)

LinuxCumShot (582742) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567253)

Canadian fuel mileage estimations are a bit more accurate, but they are never going to be exact since everybody drives differently. The assume driver only, no wind, no hills, no AC. Nobody drives like that. All they are really for is comparing different cars.

Re:Canadian stats are better (1)

crackshoe (751995) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567317)

i wish i could drive without anonymous cowards.

Ford Escord and Mini Cooper S (3, Informative)

FatRatBastard (7583) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567254)

I'm a bit of a wonk when it comes to gas milage: I keep track of all of my gas purchases.

I used to have a standard 96 Ford Escort (no AC) that regularly got around 30-35 MPG in about a 60/40 Highway to "City" split. I can't remember what the EPA numbers were for that model, but I remember that I was around or slightly above them.

I now have a MINI Cooper S (fun f**king car). Under the same driving conditions I was getting about 23-24 MPG, which was lower than EPA. I have since moved and the drive is now 30/70 HW vs City and it has dropped to the 21-22 MPG range.

Re:Ford Escord and Mini Cooper S (4, Informative)

dead sun (104217) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567359)

You aren't that much of a wonk to record gas purchases. I do the same in a little notebook in my car. I take it and calculate the fuel economy on a near monthly basis and it lets me know if there's something wrong with my old '93 Nissan Altima.

It's really a quick and a smart thing to do and I encourage everybody to do it. Your fuel economy will be one of the first warning signs that your car is developing a problem. If that drops it's time to take the car to get looked at. Just a little time to save major money on repairs later. And if you go to sell your car you have a record of its health.

I have an Audi. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9567255)

My girlfriend claims riding with me is like "being in a video game". I'm pretty sure that is a good thing.

While my car has never even gotten close to the City mileage listed on highways I often beat the given numbers by 2-3mpg. In the past, most of the other cars I've had (Mazda, Toyota, Ford) have been somewhat close with the Japanese models definitely falling short in almost every instance. The only one that ever was totally accurate for me and my driving style was the Ford.

Some of my friends who drive more like rational people tend to always beat the numbers slightly.

Re:I have an Audi. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9567318)

My girlfriend.....

They make blowup dolls that speak now? Wow. Did the cops ever nab you in the HOV/Commuter lane yet trying to sneak by with a naked "woman" in the passenger seat or did you think to clothe her?

it's a bit old (1)

deathazre (761949) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567260)

for me to know the EPA estimates, but my 1990 Ranger (with a V-6) gets around 25 with my daily drive to/from work, which is a bit of city, bit of highway, lot of hills.

Mine is about what is expected (1)

paleck (10298) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567262)

I drive a Honda Civic which is rated at 32 city and 38 Highway (guesstimate). The lowest I have seen mine is 31 and the highest was 40. I drive freeway about half the time. The rest is me on the frontage roads avoiding the neverending road construction on the freeway.

As advertised. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9567264)

I drive a very regular route to work with a 2003 Civic every day, 50 miles each way. I get a good 36-40 miles to the gallon consistently.

Until my tires were under-inflated by about ten pounds--then I was getting 35. ;)

About what I'd expect... (4, Informative)

grnchile (305671) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567265)

Car: Audi TT(6spd 225HP 1.8L turbocharged sports coupe). EPA: 20/28. Actual average for a tank has ranged from a low of 24mpg to a high of 33mpg. The 24mpg is a fairly even mix of city and highway driving. That value seems to correspond pretty closely to what one would expect from the EPA numbers. The 33mpg is all highway, of course, in sixth gear, with no turbo.

Some numbers (1)

duffbeer703 (177751) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567266)

My dad used to do extreme highway miles on a series of Ford Escorts. EPA mileage was 36, but he would regularly get 44-48 mpg.

I'm driving a '97 Cadillac Deville, and have gotten as high as 28 mpg on a long interstate trip. City mileage is around 20.

milage.. hahaha.. (1)

Newtlink (300635) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567267)

i get about 10MPG in my 327ci/300hp/PG 1967 Impala SC.. using premium fuel with lead additives, and i should be adding a few gallons of full-on race gas to the tank, but at 4.75-6.00 per gallon, i just can't afford that.. it's 47.00 to fill my tank in the first place..

i dream of getting 15MPG..

My experience (4, Insightful)

ljavelin (41345) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567269)

Of course, MPG greatly depends on how you drive, the state of the car, the fuel, the weather, traffic, and terrain.

The EPA numbers are a relative guide. They won't tell you exactly what you'll get for fuel consuption. However, you can easily use the EPA numbers to compare two cars' relative fuel efficiency. In fact, I submit that there is no better guide available for cars sold in the US.

I get reasonable mileage... (3, Funny)

cyber_spaz (302607) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567270)

I don't recall the EPA sticker figures on my car, but I have a '98 Saturn, and I get 31-35mpg.

Of course, I drive like a little old lady from Pasadena (not the one of the Beach Boys fame, though). I usually skip breakfast (perhaps it saves weight?), and my neighbors cats are grey...

. . . when it was new. (1)

actappan (144541) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567271)

When it was new my 2000 Jetta TDi got wicked good mileage - made it from Ohio to the Bay Area (the long way) on less than 4 tanks. There are all sorts of stories on the TDi Club pages about these VW's long legs.

Now it's a little older, runs only in San Francisco city traffic, and burns B100 (bio deisel) so YMMV definitely applies.

Re: . . . when it was new. (1)

leviramsey (248057) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567418)

Well, diesels always have been more efficient than gasoline engines. The downside is that the sulfur and particulates in the fuel often make passing emissions tests questionable.

Mercedes-Benz, for instance, is not planning to offer the new diesel E-Class for sale in the five strictest emissions states (California, Massachusetts, Vermont, etc.).

GM cars actually quote LOWER than reality. tsarkon (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9567273)

Yes. I have a friend who runs a shop. And we went out and tested mileage. here is how we did it. we went on a track, and did N laps at cruise control 75 mph. We made sure to drive a car till it ran out fo gas and then put 2 gallons in and drove the track. the track was even and turns were banked and mild. we tested 12 cars this way, making sure the humidity and temperature were ok, also, all cars were equipped with those low resistance michelin tires. GM Jesse twitched and farted in his sleep. Next to him lay Susie Anne Lou, the GM plant-slut and all around bar whore. She was 42. She was also awake...

"Jesse, wake up," she hissed, her voice like sandpaper from years of a 5-pack-a-day smoking habit. "Wake up you fat son of a bitch!"

Stirring and mumbling something about "polishing his knob like a good little slut," GM Jesse awoke slowly. He winced as had fallen asleep with his cheap sunglasses on again and inadvertantly shoved them into his face in a failed attempt to wipe the sleep from his eyes.

"What the fuck!?" he exclaimed as he groggily looked around. He gasped as he saw Susie Anne Lou; he had forgotten that he had "seduced" (bought her 7 beers at the bar) and fucked her earlier that night. He had been dreaming about Sarah Jessica Parker's perky Jewish tits and her shaven Jewish pussy. He had "messed her pussy up" all night long in his dream and waking up to Susie Anne Lou was in sharp contrast to his fantasy.

"You were snoring and farting. You God-damned pig, I don't expect to deal with shit-smell and grunting after I fuck," Susie Anne Lou said pointedly. "God dammit!"

Without hesitation, GM Jesse bitchslapped Susie Anne Lou. "Fuckin' cunt, God-damn bitchin' an' whinin' after I got my balls in you," he berated. "Next time you want this God-damned meat pole you're gonna get down on your knees and kiss my balls first, you fuckin' hag!"

The next morning, Susie Ann Lou, the GM plant-slut, was nowhere to be seen. Neither was GM Jesse's guitar (untouched since '78), his Journey records (last listened to yesterday), his beer (all 5 cases of it, chilled), and a stack of porno mags (Open Legs, Hustler, and Shaved).

"Fuckin' slut stole all my shit, God dammit!" GM Jesse exclaimed angrily. "Fuckin' fuck-hole walked off with all my favotire shit!"

He grabbed his jean jacket and waddled out the door. It was a warm summer morning in Kansas City and he was wearing his finest red cut-off jogging pant shorts, a stained white tshirt, and a flannel shirt overtop of that. His shoes were imitation leather with Velcro straps. GM Jesse didn't have time to fuck around with tyin' his shoes!

His belly hung out from his tshirt, and though he didn't notice, his dirty cock was hanging limply from a hole he had cut in the front of his jogging pant cut-off shorts so he woulnd't have to pull them down to piss. He'd done this while trying to piss in a beer bottle in his reclining chair late one Wednesday night. It was quite hard to piss in a beer bottle sitting down with your dick aimed down and over the top of an elastic band!

His '78 Camaro peeled out of his driveway and down the gravelly road toward I-70 and the GM plant.

His buddies from the line were drinking in the parking lot before work, per tradition every work day, and he didn't want to be late.

Re:GM cars actually quote LOWER than reality. tsar (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9567391)

yo dude that is the coolest thing you did. i treid doing something similar but your method is superior. man thats so cool. i wish i was there tos ee this man.

Method used? (1)

Anonymous Daredevil (109528) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567277)

The first and most obvious question is: Does the poster have any idea how to compute MPG? And if so, what method was used?

I know that parking on a hill and eyeballing the fuel gauge would result in a hefty boost to my MPG!

Re:Method used? (1)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567343)

Ever since she bought her first car, five years ago, she has tracked the mileage on a notepad she keeps in her glove compartment. She marks the exact amount that the gas station pump reads, the price per gallon she paid (for curiosity), and the mileage on her odometer. She can track her exact MPG for the last five years. Simply amazing.

I don't track mine. I'm guessing it's approximately 30-35, and since the exact number won't influence me in any way whatsoever - I don't care.

Car dealer tells truth! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9567280)

I had a 97 Toyota Corolla. I believe the EPA numbers were around 30/35, but the dealer told me I would actually get 37 MPG. Of course I thought he was lying, but damned if he wasn't exactly right!

Corollas (1)

zakezuke (229119) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567400)

My experence is with older Corollas, more specificly the wagons American stock.

*all 5-speed*
1976 (2t-c 1.6l) - 40mpg on Premium Texaco gas, all else where Arco was closer to 30mph. This was during the gulf war when prices were damned high, but it still was more cost effective for me to buy premium. Pretty much highway driving.

1979 (2t-c 1.6 cat). This got 30mpg no matter what I did, 28mpg after 300,000 miles or so, but I suspect that switching to larger tires might have skewed my figures. I actually got 20mpg once during a road trip in california, I suspect rank fuel.

1997 corolla (4a-fe 1.6). This was a friends, but the milage was 32 on arco gas, or 37-40mpg on Chevron Premium. Combo of Seattle hills & freeway.

Currently a 1998 nissan sentra. I belive the EPA is 29/39. Reality for me is 40mpg on arco gas. Not bad for an auto that is using a timming chain. Haven't tried premium or other brands yet.

I'll Stick with What I've Got (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9567281)

The 2004 Prius I test drove last year only registered 33 MPG max. I told the salesman thanks but I'll stick with my Suburban (13 MPG).

I'm under the official estimation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9567283)

... but there may be tougher rules in EU. MG TF 160HP 5gear manual getting up the mountain every morning with a really heavy foot :-) :
7.0l for a 100kms :-)))

Look it up here (4, Informative)

travisd (35242) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567284)

What's the base for the EPA measurements... (1)

puppetman (131489) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567287)

For example, how many people in the car, how much do they weigh? Anything in the trunk?

How much fuel is in the tank (it's heavy, and if they assume you have a full tank, you'll burn more fuel than if you always drive with less than half a tank)?

How much air in the tires?

What accessories (lots of speakers, a/c)?

Re:What's the base for the EPA measurements... (1)

eofpi (743493) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567395)

I recall hearing somewhere that they're based on tailpipe emissions(!) in a laboratory environment using a dynamometer to simulate travel, not actual fuel consumption on even a test track, let alone real roads.

what temperature, what topography. (1)

flaming-opus (8186) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567288)

If you don't ever have to go up and down hills, and always drive between 45 and 85 degrees Farenheit, that's going to make a big difference in your milleage. Tire preasure too.

My Volvo 240... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9567293)

... has the aerodynamics of a large cardboard box, but I get close to 30mpg (mostly country roads) which I think is higher than its EPA 26mpg highway rating...

Depends on Cat (5, Funny)

pyrrhonist (701154) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567295)

Or is the answer simply 'it depends on how you drive, what you had for breakfast, and the color of your neighbors' cat?

My mileage dropped drastically after pieces of the neighbors' cat got caught in the air intake.

If it hadn't been a black cat I wouldn't have run over it at night.

So, yes, mileage depends on the cat's color.

70 MPG in the Insight, depending on weather! (5, Informative)

Tom in Boston (453354) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567297)

When the weather is warm, and that seems to be the biggest factor, I get the EPA-rated 70 mpg or more in my 2000 Honda Insight. 55 on cold winter days.

Driving at moderate speeds is also a big factor.

100 MPG (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9567298)

" how does the Slashdot readership fare when it comes to EPA sticker vs actual experience, and on what type of vehicle?""

100 MPG, scooter. So there. :p

YMMV, explained (1)

mbstone (457308) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567299)

EPA fuel mileage is a scam... (4, Interesting)

BJZQ8 (644168) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567303)

It's a travesty when a 3800-pound 2004 Pontiac GTO (classed as a compact car) that gets, in reality, about 20/26 is "rated" by the EPA at 15/18, and gets a $1000 "gas guzzler" tax...while the 8000-pound Ford Excursion in the next parking spot gets fuel mileage so bad that it isn't even rated...but is eligible for medium-duty-truck tax writeoffs, and no "guzzler" tax. The whole system should be dumped in favor of vehicle choice, not artificial limits put on cars by the government.

Re:EPA fuel mileage is a scam... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9567319)

The whole system should be dumped in favor of vehicle choice

What is Vehicle Choice?

Not a scam, just outdated (5, Insightful)

green pizza (159161) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567412)

The whole system should be dumped in favor of vehicle choice, not artificial limits put on cars by the government.

The truck exemptions (that allow for SUVs to have pretty much any fuel economy [or lack there of]) came from the late 1970s when most trucks were used by farmer and construction workers. The idea was to help those people, who generally are involved in small business and make peanuts anyway.

Times have changed, now everybody and his brother has an SUV or pickup truck (even if they don't admit it). The regulations haven't changed, not because of a scam, but because the federal beaurocracy is a mess. Sure, the oil-loving administration isn't going to hurry along any changes, but they aren't doing anything actively to prevent such changes either.

Re:EPA fuel mileage is a scam... (2, Interesting)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567420)

Unfortunately, it is heavily politicized.

I'm surprised a GM gets the guzzler tax, I thought they had a corporate edict to not sell cars that are hit with it.

Unfortunately, I hate SUVs, but when you have a situation where the politicians are inundated by the UAW and the big three to not enact higher economy standards on trucks, that's what you'd expect.

It's funny that you mention the GTO. Right after the Big Three won their stay from fuel economy on trucks so they can "protect" American workers, GM announced that they'd import their GTOs from their Australian branch.

Ahh, so YOU'RE one of those crazy speeding people! (4, Insightful)

TyrranzzX (617713) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567304)

(I've had coworkers and friends say 'woah!' more than I'd like to admit *grin*)

Ye who speeds, cuts people off, and winds through traffic, is the first to reach the red light.

Re:Ahh, so YOU'RE one of those crazy speeding peop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9567411)

I wish to contest thy point of view, and amend it to:

Ye who speeds, cuts people off, and winds through traffic, learned how to drive in Boston.

Motorbike mileage (1)

rvcx (459716) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567305)

I have a low-end 600-class sportsbike (Suzuki SV650S). I'm not sure the EPA even rates such things, but with a tank size of less than four gallons and no indication of gas level beyond the trip-meter, you get very familiar with your fuel economy.

What I've found most interesting is the huge variance in mileage with riding style. I average about 40 mpg, but if I stay with low revs and keep accelaration more along the lines of what cars do, I can get 50-60 mpg. If I really push the bike with high revs and big acceleration, I've actually seen it go as low as 20-30 mpg. (Each style averaged over around 100-150 miles of driving.)

Fuel economy isn't the point (1)

vuvewux (792756) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567307)

The EPA is more concerned with emissions.

Honda Insight (1)

bwoodard (4340) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567308)

I have over 43,000 miles on my 2002 Honda Insight and my lifetime average is 61.1 MPG.

This is lower than the published numbers but considering the way that I drive it is still pretty good.

My experience: 10% better (1)

jhouserizer (616566) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567311)

I've gotten about 10% better than the milage sticker said.

I bought a '99 Saturn SL1 brand new back in '98, to serve as my commuting car.

The fuel economy sticker on it said that it would get 38 mpg on the highway. The first few years I had it, it averaged about 44 mpg, today, it is almost 6 years old, has 120,000 miles on it, and it gets about 39.

On an aside, I'm a very happy Saturn owner... The car may not have much "get up and go", nor much "style", but in 120k miles, it's _never_ been in the shop, still has original brakes, etc. only the tires (and oil) have ever been replaced... and the original tires even lasted for 85k! I definitely recommend this as a commute car, unless you're over 6 feet tall.

1999 Grand Prix SE Sedan (1)

purduephotog (218304) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567314)

Lets see:

2000: AVG MPG=26, 16k mpy
2001: AVG MPG=23, 13k mpy
2002: AVG MPG=22, 9k mpy
2003: AVG MPG=21, 10k mpy
2004: AVG MPG=21, 10k mpy

Thats an average. If I look at individuals, I see as high as 38mpg and as low as 14mpg.

As has been said "Your milage may vary".
(yes I have a 5 tank moving average availble too...)

As a side note the gas increas is only going to cost me about 200$ more a year. But it has driven the number of miles down I drive... and consequently how much I spend on trips. Interesting ehh?

Re:1999 Grand Prix SE Sedan tsarkon reports (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9567355)

just want you to know your "pimpin" ride is passe and makes you look like a cheesy PWT. Would you happen to be a Jersey Resident? Would yourname Happen to be Carl Britaninaninuski?

A healthy car means good milage (2, Interesting)

dead sun (104217) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567315)

I can't speak on the newer cars around since I drive a '93 Nissan Altima. My milage is good, averaging around 30 mpg. I have no idea what the EPA sticker is for that year, but most people that have older Altimas in decent shape seem to get near that. Given that many new cars appear to have 28 mpg for highway driving I'd say I'm doing pretty well.

I'd have to say that the biggest part of keeping my fuel economy up is keeping my car in good shape though. I had the muffler on my car die recently, the pipe basically decided to rust off the muffler body. I noticed a little bit of noise, but the pipe was still in the muffler and they were both connected to the car so nothing looked out of place. The big tip off that something was really wrong was the reduced fuel economy. Took it in to a trusted mechanic, got it fixed, and the mpg was back to where it should be.

Also, keep your tires inflated to where they should be. I'm told this is the best way to increase fuel economy.

My car (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567321)

I have a inline 4 170 HP with a 6 speed manual trans too, and you get better milage then me.

Mine is rated 21/28

I get 24 or 25 average with never less then 23 and a high aroung 30 (9 gallons over 280 miles) wich did include grid locked traffic for an hour and a half (leaving long island at 3:30 pm on a Friday).

I know I read an early review of the Honda hybrid (the one that slashdot linked two when it was brand new or not out) and the author claimed 70+ MPG when driving on hills (but highway) and trying to keep milage up. They are rated at 50 MPG I believe and all I hear is claims they do not get as good as advertised. So maybe reviewers in general can't devide or something.

Even my 10 year old saturn got what it was rated for in general use, though I never got the 33 Highway that the EPA claimed even when it was even only 5 years old. I believe it was 25/33. I consistently got 28 average use with about 31 on trips.

same story here (2, Informative)

LuxFX (220822) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567323)

Similar for me. I only keep track of my mileage when I'm trips, but my 28 mpg highway rated sedan consistently gets over 30 mpg, and I've hit 33 mpg several times.

I've heard it said that a typical vehicle gets the best mileage at 55 mph, and that for every 5 mph above or below that, subtract 1 mpg. I'm an aggressive accelerator, but I rarely go much over the speed limit any more, so this might be where some of my luck comes from. In fact, the best mileage I've ever gotten was when following my father-in-law when he was driving a moving truck at about 55-60mph the entire stretch from Chicago to Kansas City.

a little below 50mpg on my yamaha r6 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9567324)

i drive it moderately hard. if i were to take it real easy, i'd be getting over 50mpg.

depends on everything (2, Informative)

LimpGuppy (161354) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567325)

I've always get between 2-5 MPG less than the EPA ratings in my cars. I can get the EPA ratings, but only if I don't speed. None of this surprises me given how the tests are performed and what criteria they use for city (urban) and highway (extra-urban) loops.

Now what is interesting, but not really surprising, is I get the best gas mileage from my V8s. They work a lot less than the 6s and 4s I've had when you get on the highway [car body design is a great factory in this, obviously :)]

Sounds like me... (1)

obey13 (731453) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567327)

My '03 vw gti (with the 1.8t, not the vr6, 5 speed manual) is supposed to get around 24 city/31 hwy. The car definately has some zip to it. I put the zip to good use, and my overall average is around 30.1mpg. So, I dont think your the only one.

I wonder what this discussion(though all ancedotal evidence) will say about how accurate the epa is about their milage claims.

what's an EPA sticker (1)

the-build-chicken (644253) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567331)

for the non U.S. residents here

Re:what's an EPA sticker (2, Informative)

gcaseye6677 (694805) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567364)

Auto manufacturers are required by EPA (environmental protection agency) mandate to post a car's estimated city and highway fuel economy on the price sticker for new cars.

Re:what's an EPA sticker (1)

beej_55 (789241) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567385)

First, I'm hoping you know what the EPA is...Ok, it's the Enviromental Protection Agency. On the car's sticker with all the info, they put an estimate of what your miles to a gallon will be. In city driving, where there can be lots of acceleration or braking (which uses more fuel) is usually lower, and then the highway, which is higher for the opposite reason that the city MPG is lower.

SO, you get this:
20 MPG City, 28 MPG Highway. Or, 20/28 as the stickers usually sorta show.

Hope that helped.

Re:what's an EPA sticker (2, Informative)

gewalker (57809) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567422)

An EPA sticker is the printed result attached to each new car that reports the result of an EPA established test that gives estimated fuel mileage, both city and highway.

The test is completely artificial, being run on a dynomometer (no hills, wind, weight in the trunk, etc.) but has the considerable advantage of no being subject to these same variables when the test is run.

EPA established this test for emissions testing, but the government has made the results of this artificial test both required and the only allowed gas mileage estimate car manufacturers are allowed to post on the new cars.

Good -- consistent, easily compared, verifiable
Bad -- not representative of actual usage. Misunderstood by many consumers.

Prius -- Real Numbers (2, Informative)

LegalEagle (68801) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567332)

I own a 2002 Toyota Prius. Just rolled 50,000 miles tonight. Highest tank MPG was 62. Rock bottom worst was 45 MPG. Normal commuting mileage is 57-58 (without A/C), 52-53 with A/C.

Driving habbits matter. My wife (lead foot, middle name of "Never Say Brake") gets a good 10 points worse than I. Short hops in city/suburb traffic will lower the gas mileage down to the low 40's. Careful use with highway/rush hour traffic will push it toward 60.

It is like anything else. Your mileage may vary, but for me, the government underestimated the mileage.

depends on technical factors (2, Insightful)

holy_smoke (694875) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567335)

how loaded your car is, how much you drive up hill, how often you brake or decelerate, now hard you accelerate, which way and how hard the wind is blowing (literally), how bald your tires are and whether they are aligned, is it a hot day, cold day...the list goes on.

seriously there are tons of physical factors that will affect your mileage. The EPA estimates are just that - estimates. Values that are in the ballpark of what you can expect to get.

Maybe it's a style thing... (1)

Ironica (124657) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567336)

My 1997 Honda del Sol, which I sold last year, had an EPA sticker of 30/36. When I used to commute long distances, I'd routinely get 34-35 MPG on a tank. By the time I sold it, when it was six years old, sat in the garage for over a week at a time, and rarely got on the highway, my typical mileage was 29. Not too shabby when you consider how much evaporation probably happened... (seriously, I drove so little that I had to remember to go start it up now and then, or the battery would go dead.) That was a manual transmission.

I well remember my first car.. a 1985 Honda Civic, which on one round trip to San Diego (about 110 miles each way) got 40 MPG. Usually she got about 35. Never got below 30 that I recall. That was an automatic transmission.

My husband doesn't get the EPA mileage, though. He didn't on his Toyota Camry and doesn't on his Honda Accord. I'm not sure why; we definitely have different driving styles, but I couldn't tell you what might be the differences. Maybe I'm more inclined to take my foot off the gas, or maybe it's because he uses air conditioning more (though some folks argue that the wind drag from open windows hurts fuel economy more than running the AC). But we don't have the same experience with fuel economy, that's for sure.

I've always come close to the sticker (1)

slasher999 (513533) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567337)

I've driven the following over the years and found all of them to be close to sticker mileage:

'02 Impala LS (3.8L, GM 3800 Series II)
'95 Bonneville (3.8L, GM 3800 Series II)
'88 Pontiac 6000 (3.5L I believe, fuel injected not carb)

I don't recall ever checking my '85 Grand Am, that had the Tech-4 in it.

Decrease price/gallon, and EPA becomes meaningless (1)

an0nymous (790179) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567338)

...(Cat got my tongue)

I drive a... (1)

bryanthompson (627923) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567341)

1983 Porsche 944. On the highway I get about 28 mpg, less depending on how spirited the driving is.

I had the opportunity to drive a 2004 Cadillac Escalade last week, and on the highway it got 19.5 mpg, which suprised me a LOT. I expected 15mpg because of the hype associated with SUV's.

Check out This article [] .
Oil prices fell to their lowest in two months on Tuesday as the handover of power in Iraq (news - web sites) raised hopes for less sabotage and steadier exports.
Good news for those of us who don't quite make the mileage grade.

Re:I drive a... (1)

ljavelin (41345) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567399)

I drive a 2002 Porsche Boxster S, and I get about 28 MPG on the highway. But with 93 octane gas prices around $2.30 around here, a fill up is well over $30. Happily, I only drive about 4000 miles/year, so fill ups aren't that frequent.

My sister's Excursion gets about 14 MPG - and that's not even with the A/C running (we measured it in the early spring, before it gets really hot).

Filling up that puppy always seems like a financial nightmare. She's going to replace it with something a little smarter - despite her 4 kids, she finds that it makes for a lousy family vehicle.

Uhh... (1)

beej_55 (789241) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567346)

I drive a '76 Chevy Cheyanne Super 20 Camper Special. So, I average about 5-6 miles to the gallon, city, and maybe around 11-13 highway.
Of course, it has two thirty-gallon tanks, so it's a monster to fill. However, I only fill it about once or twice a year! Wanna know why? I bike. It's better for ya.

So far, so good... (1)

DJ Super Dulce (766099) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567351)

I just got done with my first tank in a new diesel VW Jetta. The EPA sticker says 38 city / 46 highway. I filled up the tank 12.4 gallons and got about 520 miles on that tank, so the numbers check out pretty well for me so far--that's about 42 miles/gallon.

USA Today did a test drive of this car and a hybrid (I believe it was Toyota's, but it may have been Honda's) and found the diesel Jetta got from Michigan to Washington, D.C. on a single tank while the hybrid needed a fill-up. The hybrid and the Jetta have equal-sized gas tanks, and the hybrid's EPA numbers are higher. The result of the (admitedly unscientific) test was that the diesel numbers were more true-to-life.

93 vs 02 EPA mileage (4, Interesting)

mjh (57755) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567356)

My previous car was a '93 Ford Probe. It consistantly beat the EPA fuel mileage estimates by about 3-5 MPG My current car is an '02 Dodge Neon. It's consistantly worse than the EPA estimates by about 3-5 MPG.

Reading some of the other posts, it seems that older cars beat the EPA mileage and newer cars do not. Is it possible that the EPA changed their methods for estimating mileage?

Side note: I sure miss my '93 Probe. Sniff.

I drive a BMW M5 (1)

kurt555gs (309278) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567360)

The sticker said 21 hwy / 15 city.

I have a problem getting anywhere near that expecially when the tires are smokin, and the engin is roarin.

Oh, and I drive way to fast to worry about Cholesterol let alone mileage.



rump_carrot (644292) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567363)

It had to be said...

mine exceeds i think (1)

Raleel (30913) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567366)

I have a 1992 honda civic vx (hatchback type). I'm not even sure what it's rated for, but I regularly get over 40, and have seen 50. Mine is driven almost exclusively to work and back home (15 miles, all but 2 miles is highway)

Varying mileage (1)

khellendros1984 (792761) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567368)

I'm sure part of fuel economy depends on what the air is like where you're driving. Driving on a highway through Kansas fields would likely get you better mileage than going between the cities in California....or it could just be the Techron....

Hi Timmy! (2, Informative)

Safety Cap (253500) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567369)

~ how does the Slashdot readership fare when it comes to EPA sticker vs actual experience ~?

The slashdot readership has probably faired the same since this story originally ran [] . Oh, wait.

MPG of hybrid engines are a scam (I hope not) (1)

shodson (179450) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567370)

This Wired article [] talks about how hybrids MPG stats are somewhat skewered because of the way the EPA performs the test partially based on emissions, which hybrids don't produce.

I personally would hope this is not the case, as I am excited about getting the new 2005 Lexus RX 400 H hybrid [] which comes our next year.

I get much better than EPA ratings... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9567371)

2001 Nissan Maxima, 5-speed. The epa rating is 22 city, 27 highway, but I regularly get 40 mpg on long highway trips with the cruise control set at the speed limit.

When I first got the car, I got 14 mpg in the city, but the mileage rapidly improved as the car was broken in.

Since mileage depends so much on driving style, the EPA ratings are not only a standard distance, but a standard style. It is only for comparing cars, not an actual expected value for your driving.

Wait a second (0, Troll)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567373)

"For instance, today there is a review of the Toyota Prius that had the famous line 'Since no car really achieves the EPA estimated mileage...' "

If the review came out today, how did that line become so famous so fast? Or is this really a "famous" line? I live in a cave, so maybe I missed that one.

If I don't get mileage reasonably close to the EPA numbers, I take the car back to the dealer and ask them to check it out.

mpg (1)

photonrider (571060) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567374)

'99 Corvettte six-speed manual transmission, on the highway at 80 on a 300 mile trip, no mountains, 32 mpg. If I could drive 55 or 60 I could probably get close to 40 on the highway on reasonably flat ground. In town with as little stop and go as possible I can get 20-25mpg. Alot of stop and go it's closer to 15-17. I'm really surprised how good the gas mileage is on this car. Run that 350 horse engine at low rpm and it delivers pretty good mpg. Run it up for fun and the mpg drops faster than the mercury in minnesota in january.

EPA tests (1)

datamaxx (656158) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567375)

the EPA tests bear little resemblance to reality --Toyota for one has complained bitterly about the testing methodology even with it's seemly higher numbers. The tests were designed in the 70's with a different set of goals in mind. Due to intense lobbying they have remained in effect-- if they reflected real world numbers things would have to change -- follow the money 'remember hybrid cars are impossible to build' at last count they are building them on 6 different assembly lines / plants and the waiting list is weeks -- it's bad for oil until they gasify all that coal.

Motorcycle! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9567376)

I ride a Honda 500 cc motorcycle and get 50~70 mpg depending on how I ride it. The only trade off is that I put better quality gas in it because its engine runs a hell of a lot better on premium gasoline. People should really look into two wheeled transportation as it's fun to ride and a lot more economical than the vast majority of cars.

Depends On Driving Styles & Conditions (2, Insightful)

schwep (173358) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567377)

Cars, like anything (say computers) are best at what they are designed to be best at. Just as Intel processors are very good at things that can be pipelined and demand high throughput, Via processors are very good at using low power and a small footprint. If you try using the device for something it wasn't OPTIMIZED for it will not perform - regardless of how great it can do what it is really meant to do.

If you look at Prius (and hybrid designs in general) they are based on city based use cases. Shut off the engine at the stop light & fuel economy goes up. These same cars on the highway won't perform as well. As to the 'Highway' and 'City' designations - these should be used a general baseline, not the rule.

I have personally found that some cars do better than their EPA while others don't. Lots of factors weigh in... age of the car, using the correct octane gasoline, how well you keep the car maintained, if you cary around 150 lbs of crap in your trunk, the kind of tires you use, is the car in alignment, and the list goes on.

The truth of the matter is that if you have the same circumstances that the EPA had when it tested the car, you can expect around those result.

As a prior poster put it:

Your mileage may vary.

Well....I drive a Jeep.... (1)

jeephistorian (746362) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567382)

so my milage is aweful. I just returned from a 1600 mile, 80mph round trip averaging 15mpg. For a vehicle with the aerodynamics of a cinder block, that's not bad!



2002 Toyota (1)

bsgk (792550) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567386)

EPA rated at 19 mpg. I get around 20 mpg.

My 1995 camry thomps my EPA estimate (1)

petree (16551) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567387)

The official EPA MPG [] is 23 city, 31 highway on my 1995 Toyota Camry. To put that in perspective, I drive to-from school, Massachusetts to North Carolina at least half a dozen times each year and I've never averaged less than 35 mpg on the trip. I think my all time best was 41 mpg, but the climate was perfect and so I didn't need any AC/Heat the entire trip. I'm not sure how accurate the city side of things is, but I know the highway estimates are super conservative. Of course, even though I drive aggresively, I do have the 5-speed manual and spend most of my time in 5th. Oh and in case you were wondering, I regularly get 4-6mpg better than what I get while driving my mom's 1994 automatic camry, so I know that definately plays into it.

Just in case you were curious, check this website out for fuel efficiency data for all cars [] run by the EPA.

About 10mpg (1)

Suidae (162977) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567388)

My '71 Impala with a 350cid V8 and 4bbl carb gets about 10mpg when I can manage to avoid lead-footing it. If I'm engaging in 'spirited' driving it can dip as low as 8.

Its been my daily driver for about a year, but I've just recently switched to a '95 Geo Prizm that gets about 32ish mpg. It doesn't really have any capability for agressive driving, but it sure makes corners more fun.

news for nerds! (1)

dAzED1 (33635) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567392)

My 9 year old s-10 that I abuse on a regular basis (its my thrash vehicle) still averages 23mpg at 180k miles, and its a 6 cyl. The est mpg on the sticker was 20/24, I think...something around in that spot. So, I'm still at the range it says.

People that claim they never get the EPA rating need to learn not to speed up and slow down as fast as possible. If you see the light is red a few hundreds yards away, don't accelerate just to stop. Try to keep inertia in mind - remember your high school physics!

2000 Subaru (the AWD tax in effect......) (1)

essaunders (469150) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567396)

I drive (and keep meticulous gas consumption records on) a 2000 Subaru Outback wagon (2.5 L 4 cyl). My lifetime efficiency at last calculation is 23.92 MPG. EPA reported is 22/27. My best recorded is 31.43 MPG -- I think my father had the car on a long trip and actually drove 55 the whole time.....

I did notice that driving fast in this car sucks fuel. I also figure that I pay at least a couple of MPG in AWD tax.

88 mazda 626 (1)

suitti (447395) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567401)

My 1988 Mazda 626 has an EPA rating of 32. My average is about 37. On a trip, it has gotten 41 MPG. This last was astounding - but hard to dispute. It got 615 miles from it's 15 gallon tank.

When people say, "My SUV gets great mileage - 25 MPG", I'm thinking, "But my '626 gets 27 MPG towing a boat. It'd likely do better than 25 MPG towing your truck."

My 626 has a 16 valve 2.2 liter engine with a 5 speed manual. The high gear is pretty high, and I spend most of my time in it.

Using cruise control seems to give me 3 or 4 MPG under similar conditions. Going 65 MPH rather than 75 MPH gives me approximately 17% improvement in fuel economy. That is, at 65 MPH I get 40 MPG. At 75 MPH, I get more like 34. It's still legal to drive at 65 MPH in a 70 MPH zone as far as I know.

My other cars typically have gotten mileage quite close to the EPA.

Last year, I drove 35,000 miles. I've done the math. Gas is a significant expense for me. Insurance is cheap on a 16 year old car. Maintenance has been very low.

My previous car, a 1978 Dodge Omni, had a life time average of 27 MPG. However, just after I installed the cruise control, I went on a trip. I set the cruise for indicated 55 MPH, and drove for 8 hours. I pulled into a gas station, and was only able to put 10 gallons into the tank. I had gone 400 miles. That's 40 MPG. It's also 50 MPH. So, the speedometer read low by about 5 MPH, and the car went a long way at 50 MPH. It had a 1.7 liter engine with a 4 speed manual. Forth gear was really too low. I really did not need all that torque once at highway speed. However, car companies seem to think that torque sells cars - in all gears. So, few cars come with a proper cruising gear, in my opinion.

EPA Exclusions (1)

AntiMac (100361) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567403)

I'm not sure what the reasoning is behind it, but vehicles over a certain GVWR (e.g. light-medium duty trucks or pickups) are excluded from being rated for gas mileage by the EPA. So, in buying fleet vehicles, etc. we're always left to guess. However, as far as Ford vehicles go (my personal favourite), I've found that vehicles rated by the EPA generally perform the same as vehicles not rated by the EPA with similar engines as far as gas mileage goes. Sorry to bore you, I guess this was just another troll of mine for an "informative" moderation.

better than EPA ratings on highway (Toyota Tundra) (1)

corprew (24232) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567405)

I consistently get 5 MPG better than the EPA ratings on the highway, and about the EPA ratings for city when I'm stuck in traffic.

That's for relatively open highway speeds in cruise control. But due to the way that the engine and transmission is rigged, the fuel efficiency goes down very fast at speeds over 70. (Over 60-65, really, but it becomes human noticeable at 70.)

I have changed my commuting habits to avoid peak periods, as it is a waste of both a) gas and b) my time, on those days when I drive to work instead of taking the bus.

Many, many factors to consider... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9567406)

1) Driving style
2) Condition of individual vehicle and quality of maintenance
3) Location and altitude
4) Type and quality of gasoline used ...

The list goes on... all of these factors are beyond the control of the EPA and will affect your mileage. There are also build tolerances involved... no two cars will produce exactly the same amount of power, nor the same mileage.

Wanna improve your mileage?

1) Change the oil regularly (also #1 way to help your engine live a long time - try synthetic if you can afford it)
2) Inflate the tires properly
3) Make sure the exhaust is clear and catalytic converter isn't plugged (exhaust shop can check this if you're getting poor mileage)
4) Change the oxygen sensor(s) at their service limit
5) Change the air filter regularly
6) Don't carry extraneous junk in the car/truck (reduce the weight)
7) Use a good quality gas of the octane level required by the vehicle
8) Get regular tune-ups
9) Accelerate evenly... stabbing the gas pedal hard forces the ECM to enrich fuel to produce maximum power - but poor economy results

There are many, many other things you can do, but not too many readers are going to want to clean and repack their wheel bearings (where applicable) every so many years... ;)

Gas sucking pig... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9567410)

2001 Dodge Durango, with the 5.9L engine and the 3.92 tranny. I get 12~13 mpg around town, 16 on the highway, 33 down a hill with a tailwind...

The thing was ordered for towing (can haul more than a Hummer2) a travel trailer. I should see about just buying a second car for work commuting...

1986 Acura Integra (1)

BW_Nuprin (633386) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567413)

I have a 1986 Acura Integra RS (5 door hatch, 5 speed manual), its rated at 26 and 30, but aside from the time when my oxygen sensor died and the car was running overly rich, I've found that I average around 30 city and 36 highway. My all time high was 39 mpg while driving through Idaho, but to be fair, I was coasting downhill most of the time. Despite its age, its a very zippy little car, and the fuel economy is great.

Of course, despite all this, I have to worry whether or not I'll pass smog tests when I move to Cali in August.

I walk... (1)

JessLeah (625838) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567414) insensitive clod.

Ford Focus SVT (2, Informative)

Jugomugo (219955) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567416)

Sounds like he has a Ford Focus SVT, just in case anyone was wondering.

MPG (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9567419)

I drive a 1994 Ford Mustang GT (the 302 or to others known as a 5.0)

I ust to get when originally bought it easily 26mpg but i was on a split of 40city/60hwy

nowadays i do almost 70city/30hwy and with 160,000 miles i get 21 mpg.

Overall not bad for the age and type of car IMO.

(PS im a lead foot...)

'enthusiastic' driver = not even close to EPA. (1)

jabella (91754) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567425)

when i drive about 50/50 with city and highway, I never, ever get close to the EPA ratings. I'm always lower than the city stat, but most of that (if not all) is attributable to driving style.

On long, long highway stints I have hit the EPA highway stat for my car. (2001 vw jetta 1.8t, 5 speed)

if i drive it 'right' i'm sure i could kill the EPA stats though.

You are assuming ... (1)

auburnate (755235) | more than 10 years ago | (#9567426)

that I have ever bought a car that had one of those pretty white stickers that say you have $$$. The only car I've ever bought was a 1992 Mazda Protege for $2400 a few years ago. No sticker on it. However, I was getting average 30 mpg.

For those that care ... I got married and sold it and inherited my wife's car '94 Corolla. I'm moving up in the world. Funny thing is ... I have a B.S. in Electrical Engineering, she has a B.S. in Elementary Education and we share a car.

By the way, is it just me or are there a lot of EEs ( my type) marrying EEs ( my wife's type) ...

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