EPA Will Reveal MPG Test Data – Who Should be Afraid

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For the first time ever, the EPA plans to release the results of their MPG testing in “plain English.” This will finally shed some light on what the EPA is seeing and provide an independent source for MPG estimates. Which automaker do you think is most afraid of the results going public?

EPA Will Reveal MPG Test Data - Who Should be Afraid

This fall the EPA will reveal the manufacture MPG testing audits to the public for the first time. Who should be concerned?

The general public is starting to wake up and seriously doubt the EPA testing methods. This plus the cases of automakers stated way less than factual MPG numbers leads one to severely doubt the credibility of the EPA. Now, it seems the EPA has had enough.

In an Autonews.com story, Christopher Grundler, head of EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality said that they will release the “results of industrywide audits that included tests on more than 20 car and light-truck models this year.” These audits include data that was meant to double-check the automakers “coast-down” test. The EPA did the tests at tracks in Arizona and Michigan. This is the same test that got Hyundai and Kia in trouble.

The coast-down test is one in which the vehicles speeds up to 80 mph and then coasts to zero. It tests the vehicles’ aerodynamics, rolling resistance of the tires and amount of fricition in the drivetrain. This test is conducted on a dynamometer. Taking data from this test and others, the EPA is able to project MPG.

Grundler said that after being briefed on the results, the report “will be very interesting to some people.” He can’t talk about it, because they are currently meeting with executives from car companies to brief them on the results.

As most of us now know, the EPA has rarely done audits of the automakers results and up until three years ago, didn’t do any coast-down verification. They started doing them to deter cheaters (see: Hyundai and Kia).

Also interesting is that for the EPA to do these tests, they have to rent track space or find a place to do the testing. Last year, the EPA was able to find a decommissioned Air Force base and this year, they rented a track from Chrysler.

While the EPA briefed the automakers last year on the results, this year is the first that they will be made public.

This brings up back to the original question, which automaker do you think has the “will be interesting to some people” test results?

Our money is on the Ford and their EcoBoost products. RAM could also be interesting as well since they have sent the truck for testing several times to get better fuel economy numbers.

Who is your pick?

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  1. DJ says:

    I’ll bet on the “Ego-Boost” as well. Real world MPG that I’m hearing is hardly better than the Tundra, we’re talking 15 mpg mixed. Of course in it’s frequent “limp mode” I think it gets 20+ mpg….

  2. LJC says:

    Mike Sweers may be a happy camper when this is released. Recall, one main reason why there were no changes to the Tundra’s engine because it was meeting or exceeding the posted EPA figures.

    May be the EB should be the ED :D

  3. Larry says:

    Any test in a lab, on a dyno with the truck chained down is not worth reading.

    Eco-Boost has been out for a while now. It definitely makes a bunch of power under load with the turbos working.

    Will it get 23 MPG when someone drives it around with an egg between a persons foot and the pedal driving going east to west in Kansas with a tail wind and never changed speeds or stopping for 5 hours? It might but who cares. I doubt even 5 percent of twin turbo owners are going drive it with a light foot.

    Anyone who claims their Ram/Ford gas truck gets 23 MPG needs to stop looking at the on board computer readout and learn to do some basic arithmetic. You can’t move 6000 pounds in a start stop environment ant get 15 let along 23. My Subaru only gets 25MPG and it weight 3000 pounds.

    Want to know about fuel consumption.

    1) don’t be on the front line to purchase any of these things because they are unproven.

    2) the only numbers which count are highway MPG numbers and city MPG numbers.

    3) the numbers coming out of a fuel computer are worthless.

    4) miles divided by gallons with stock tires. Those are the only numbers worth looking at. Put on monster tires which are 3 inches taller and they change everything.

    5) MPG under heavy towing isn’t worth looking at. Tow 10000 pounds in a truck with a loaded bed and I can tell everyone right now it’s going to be 8 – 9 MPG. Moving 20,000 pounds total with a gas motor is the same with a 6.2L V8 F250 as it is with a 3.5 V6 F150 twin turbo.

    6 EPA numbers. It’s a government agency who’s employees don’t get paid unless they keep generating more reports and rules to annoy all of us. If you are about to read anything published by the EPA or other government agency, my advice is to drink heavily instead.

    The only way to know real MPG numbers before you buy is to talk to other owners. Better yet borrow their truck so you will know for sure.

    I might now own a RAM with a 5.9 turbo diesel but, I’m still here. I get 20 MPG on the highway with a 6 speed manual trans and the truck bed empty.

    • Tim Esterdahl says:

      The only part I disagree with it is the significance of this test. I do think a benchmark test is important to compare apples to apples. Yes, individual driving and environmental items will impact mpg. It is still beneficial to have some sort of measuring stick though as a place to start and go from.

      -Tim

      • Larry says:

        Tim,

        My main point is that people should understand these issues before the fall for the numbers. I know this is a hard line statement but anyone who has fallen for the Ford claim that the twin turbo EB gets 23 MPG deserves to find out that his/her 6000 pound truck is going to get 16/20 at best, they should have know better and should have taken the time to talk to an owner to fine out what is real.

        Any person who goes to a dealer to look at a new EB truck, looks at the MPG numbers on the sticker, then listens to the sales person should understand enough to say “a 6000 pound truck is not going to get 23 MPG, prove it to me!”. They still might want the thing but they would have correctly put the sales person in their place.

        People have got to educate themselves. I have said this before. Anyone who is about to drop 45,000 or more on a new truck should spend 6 months learning everything possible. When they go into the dealer, they should already know everything there is to know.

        I have been driving trucks of all kinds for 45 years. In that time I might have driven 300 trucks or more and I know how much fuel it takes to move 20,000 pounds.

        How are EPA tests giving us anything we can use. Trucks are for work and the EPA should have work load tests. I live at the top of a 15 mile 7 percent grade at almost 8000 feet. Does the EPA pull a loaded trailer up a grade like that to see real numbers, they should. There is also a valid reason that EPA numbers are not required on 3/4 – 1 ton trucks. Who in their right mind would buy an F250 3/4 ton truck with a twin turbo V6, hook up a heavy trailer and tow a construction fork lift up to the top of independence pass in CO. A 1000 HP Indy race motor would work also, for about 4 hours and at 5 MPG even if the EPA says it gets 17/23 on the sticker.

        • Tim Esterdahl says:

          Larry,

          I agree with you about your main point and reseasoning. All I am saying, is that it is nice that a person can do a quick comparison across various models, then dig deeper.

          For example, when I was buying my truck, I started here: http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg.....=newMarket

          This gave me a baseline that all trucks I was looking at get about the same. Then, I dug deeper. When you see a truck that gets significantly more fuel economy than others, that is a red flag for me.

          The EPA numbers are a baseline, not the final indicator of fuel economy (real world owners have that) – is my point.

          -Tim

        • Justin says:

          Larry: Keep in mind most manufacturers are moving into the 22-25mpg highway range on their trucks based on many advancements, not what we had in trucks even 10yrs ago.

          Most manufacturers still quote anywhere from 14-16mpgs city, which is what can be expected to get to move 6000lb brick. Where we are seeing the biggest increase is in highway figures as that mass is already moving and simply needs enough power to keep it rolling. Trucks are much more aerodynamic, they have much more advanced technology (cylinder deactivation, 6-8spd transmissions) and low resistant tires for a few items. All play into improving mpgs.

          Unless you request power, have a strong headwind, or climbing mtn passes, when traveling at 55mph these trucks can bring back decent mpgs. Problem is most people want to drive 75mph and wonder why they don’t get the quoted mpg. Compared to today, my 5.4L 4spd 4×4 F150 is outdated, but I still can average around 20mpgs on the highway if I keep it at or under 65mph. Sure hill climbs, headwinds, increasing speed and whatnot will negatively impact mpgs. Add a more efficient motor, 2 more gears and improve the aerodynamics, and I could see an extra 2-3mpgs out of the vehicle. Biggest factor is no matter how you design a truck, it’s still going to be a brick. So while I agree reaching higher and higher mpgs will be difficult, I don’t see the 20-25mpgs highway as unattainable.

  4. Mickey says:

    I won’t say nothing until it is published. Let the chips fall where they may. We will see then. Then we can sit back and relax and watch the manufacturer complain about it. I’ll just have some popcorn at the ready and watch the show.

  5. Justin says:

    The EB ratings and figures could be off, high or low, depending on the driver and conditions. As most people should know, you kick in the boost on any turbo motor, mpgs are gonna suffer drastically. Lead foot = horrible mpgs, possibly worse than a N/A V8. Light feather foot, should bring home close to the listed ratings.

    I’ve seen a mixed bag of EB owners, some with good mpgs some with horrible. Some discrepancies due to driver, difference in gearing, weather when tested, environment (mtns versus plains), etc.

    But do find it funny the EB is the one everyone wants to point at, even the author of the article as they posted the EB logo. Personally though, I think all trucks today are fairly accurate in their ratings. Sure any test cycle could show a slight increase/decrease here or there, are they testing an RCab SB 4×2 or a CCab LB 4×4 with all the bells/whistles. But would say on average all are listed fairly accurately.

    • Tim Esterdahl says:

      I put the EB logo there because across the industry, other company reps point to the EB as being the most questionable. Plus, there are several lawsuits around the technology.

      http://www.tundraheadquarters......-problems/
      http://www.tundraheadquarters......on-system/

      Plus, Ford was just caught lying about MPG numbers.

      http://green.autoblog.com/2013.....uit-claim/

      -Tim

      • Justin says:

        What other company reps belive the EB ratings as being questionable? Haven’t seen any company challenge those figures in the media.

        So what exactly do lawsuits about the EB technology used or defects have to do with mpg ratings? Absolutely nothing. As far as I can tell or have read, there have been no updates since late 2012 regarding the patent lawsuit. As for the EB going into limp mode, there has been an active TSB for quite some time to resolve this issue, and it only occurs when extreme conditions occur. But exactly how do either of those impact mpgs again?

        As for the C-Max MPG figures, the EPA has already come out and cleared them of any wrong doing. So exactly how were they caught lying? The issue stemmed from testing standards that allowed the automaker to base the C-Max’s fuel economy on the Fusion Hybrid, because they use identical powertrains. The C-Max’s less aerodynamic shape wasn’t taken into account, though. Ford based the 2013 Ford C-Max label on testing of the related Ford Fusion hybrid, which has the same engine, transmission and test weight as allowed under EPA regulations. So clearly they played by the EPA rules. While it’s of little consolation, Ford themselves issued a voluntary recall to reprogram all software and sent each buyer roughly $500 to assist in the fuel useage difference.

        So I see exactly zero corrolation between those articles you posted and this EPA testing article.

        • Tim Esterdahl says:

          Justin,

          GM, Ram, Toyota, Nissan, other Journalists, etc… I go to lots of media-only events that aren’t advertised.

          Look, I write about all sorts of manufactures and all I am saying is that the EB technology and MPG claims are the most talked issues in the media circles I am a part of.

          And yes, the EPA might have updated their rules following the testing of the C-max, but Ford still had to rescind their claims based on a poor judgement basing mpg estimates on non-comparable cars (Fusion vs. C-max). My point here is that if that happened with one vehicle, it is possible it might happen with others.

          The limp mode issue is concerning for many Ford owners on long-term reliability of the engine components and damage that could have occurred. Any damage could impact mpg as well as the new CAC hasn’t been tested with the EPA systems. Is airflow different? I don’t know, but it is an interesting question.

          Now, could Toyota have a big issue when the test data is reveled. You bet! They could have claims that don’t add up. All I did was look at the automakers who recently got in hot water and Ford came to the top. I could have put the Ram logo up as well since they sent that their for mpg testing a few times (making tweaks) to get their numbers to line up. Also, I could have put up their EcoDiesel.

          I don’t write to signal out any one maker. I point out missteps on them all.

          -Tim

          • Justin says:

            So GM and Dodge question the mpg ratings? Seems Dodge is touting 25mpgs, higher than the EB F150, even if it may be the standard V6 model. Also, GM’s new 5.3L is rated better highway mpg than the F150 EB. Toyota and Nissan are running older power-trains and less aerodynamic trucks, big factors into mpg differences.

            Ford is wrong and should rescind their claim because it used the same power-train between two different vehicles, fine I’m okay with that. If this is true though, then nearly every manufacturer should have to rescind their mpg ratings for at least a car or two they produce, as this has been standard operating procedure and EPA approved regulation for quite some time. If Ford has done it, nearly every mass auto manufacturer has done it.

            This limp mode could impact mpgs. Great, Ford issued a TSB to fix the issue. This is the same thing as say the issues Toyota had with their Air Injection System problem. It could just as well impact mpgs and reliability. Any potential problem, big and small, and age of vehicle can impact mpgs. So if you want to point out a problem for one make, you might as well start pointing out problems for all makes. Also, you don’t calculate mpgs off a vehicle that is not operating at normal.

            Manufacturers in hot water. Hmm. So a potential patent lawsuit, design flaw or defect and mpg issue based on EPA regulation at that time are considered hot water? Sorry, lawsuit has absolutely nothing to do with mpg testing, no manufacturer nor the EPA is testing mpgs based on a vehicle experiencing an issue, and the EPA cleared Ford of wrong doing as they used standard protocol.

            I’m not saying Ford will pass/fail this test, as they have an equal shot as does every other manufacturer. But using the above reasons as to why Ford is most likely to fail is in poor taste and judgement.

          • Tim Esterdahl says:

            Justin,

            The ratings for the Ram and new EcoTec were just introduced. I have been doing this for a while, the questioning EB FE and relevance in full-size trucks has been around for a long, long time.

            And your right, the air injection pump issue could have long-term reliability and mpg concerns. We have documented that issue to death, covered the failure and have highlighted a bypass. I have also asked Toyota directly through my PR contacts for word if they have finally fixed the problem or masked it. http://www.google.com/cse?cx=p.....gsc.page=1

            We have said time and time again, Toyota dropped the ball on that issue as well as possible paint issues. In article after article we have talked about it and actually created a series of all known problems based on model year.

            Poor taste and judgment? Huh? We have done similar articles about everyone including Toyota. That is what we do! Haven’t you been reading this site?

            You need to read/listen more. Your accusations are baseless.

            -Tim

  6. Justin says:

    Since I am unable to reply to your most recent post, I will do so here.

    Yes the Ram & EcoTec ratings were just introduced. That does not discredit the EB FE though. Competition breeds competition. Just like the Tundra 5.7 upped the power game in 2007, Ford upped the mpg in 2011. If people question it, then they need to publish those questions and provide verifiable proof as to why they question it. If they are simply upset but no proof to their claim, then their concerns are a moot point.

    And I’m not claiming that this site doesn’t cover topics such as the Air Injection Pump, heck this is the 1st place I read about it. You fellas do a great job of keeping owners informed and questions Toyota on items.

    My point regarding the “poor taste & judgement” is the claim being made that the EB’s figures are inflated due to unassociated and isolated claims (limp mode, lawsuit or C-Max). Yes the limp mode has occurred (which can occur in any vehicle), yes there was/is a lawsuit, but exactly what corrolation does either of those have when the EPA puts these brand new vehicles through its testing cycle? Exactly the same amount of corrolation that the Air Injection Pump has when going through the EPA test. Which is absolutely none, zero, zilch corolation. It’s like me saying those camshaft issues that the Tundra had back in 2007 are going to negatively impact the brand new 2013 Tundra’s mpg rating, because you know a person had a bad camshaft once and that can negatively impact mpgs.

    As for the C-Max, it received those figures based on an EPA regulation, since it matched powertrains with the Fusion. No other vehicle in Fords lineup uses the EB 3.5L and the 6spd transmission in the F150. This powertrain lineup is unique to the F150. So it’s not like Ford could have used the regulation they used with the C-Max for the EB F150, since no other Ford product uses that same powetrain. So it’s not like the F150 EB got it’s rating because of another vehicle or EPA regulation loophole. It went through the normal testing process.

    I’ve read the site plenty over the years (dating back to 2007). Some of the journalism here is spot on, of course some is slanted to the Toyota side (as expected). You stated I’m making accusations, but the fact of the matter is the accusations are coming from your post trying to associate three items to the EB and it’s EPA fuel economy rating that have absoluetly no corrolation.

    • Tim Esterdahl says:

      Ok. I’m tired of discussing this, ha! :) Fine, you think my correlation is baseless. My real point in the article was who do you think should be concerned. I, personally, think Ford’s EcoBoost is one of the targets based on my observations. It is an opinion that’s all. :)

      -Tim

      • Justin says:

        Tim: Not saying your concerns are baseless, as those are potential concerns for EB owners (limp mode) and C-Max owners. My concern is they have absolutely no correlation to the testing that the EPA will be conducting is all. EPA tests brand new cars that are free of issues. Not like they will be testing any vehicle with a pre-existing condition, which would alter their results is what I’m saying.

        As to who should be concerned, I believe all manufacturers should be worried.

        http://www.autoblog.com/2013/1.....-too-good/

        • Tim Esterdahl says:

          Justin,

          Interesting link, full of good information! I hear your concern and I may have goofed, I’ll own that.

          -Tim

  7. Mason says:

    The 2014 Tundra may very well be the fuel economy king. Knowing that in Consumer Reports tests the 2012 Tundra earned the same real-world mpg as the Ram 8-speed Hemi, and F-150 Ecoboost (one mpg better than the Hemi 6 speed and 2013 Silverado 5.3l); the 2014 Tundra may earn the highest V8 mpg rating.

  8. Randy says:

    Ford Motor has “run” to the NHSTA and EPA for cover so help save their F150 EB from disgrace. First they submitted their rigged test to the NHSTA in August of this year to fight their lawsuits and deny the warranty claims on the EB. Essentially, they told the NHTSA they will not be making corrections to EB, because there is no problem; at least according to them.

    How many people will take their EB to Michigan or Arizona for the EPA coast down test? How many people will break the speed limit on the freeway to 80mph and coast to 0mph? What does that prove for real world MPGs? Nothing.

    Neither the NHSTA nor the EPA are serving the public, they serve only Ford.

    If Ford had the cojones they would face the music and conduct real test. Go to SE Texas when the temperature is 70 and the dew point is 70 at 3am to 7am, fill the intercooler with 1 gallon of water, not 4 to 8 oz. and do not play WOT sillies, and see how far they go at steady state 60mpg and record the real mpg. You will be lucky to get 15mpgs on the hi-way. Don’t even try to make a mild pass and drop from sixth gear to just fifth gear or you will have hydro-lock. If you take the “exact” same truck before it suffers any power train damage from this then you can drive the exact same course – say a couple of hundred miles, and if the temperature is 70 and dew point is 20, you will get over 21mpg, sometimes as much as 24mpg.

    This is strictly a numbers financial decision on the part of Ford, nothing more nothing less.

    • LJC says:

      Right on Randy! The condensation problem with the EB is NOT likely to go away. Condensation is a naturally occurring phenomenon when air is cooled. Add a high dew point and the amount of water that results is higher.

      • Justin says:

        Is the EB condensation issue a design flaw, most definately. Can it be fixed, most likely. It does not appear this is common with most other turbo gasoline motors, whether that be some of the newer Dodge, Chevy or even other Ford turbo products. It does not appear this is a problem with turbo diesel motors either. That being said, I’d would venture to guess the condensation can and willbe cured. How and when is the major question.

        • Tim Esterdahl says:

          The interesting thing on the condensation issue is that we are hearing even after the CAC is replaced with the new unit, the EB trucks are having the same issue. These owners are saying that Ford’s current solution doesn’t work at all. This is MOST curious.

          -Tim

    • Mason says:

      Randy I don’t know why the heck you replied to me since that really doesn’t have to do with my comment, but since you did I’ll bite.

      Ford hasn’t gone running to anyone. EPA estimates are not “claimed” mpg figures. They are tests condicted by the EPA themselves using a robot, and a robot has no bias. It’s obvious how the Ecoboost gets the 22 mpg, the truck has to be run in such a way that you don’t activate the turbos. If you drive it in such a way that you keep using the turbos’ power, then the Ecoboost will get relatively the same mpg as the naturally aspirated V8. The Ecoboost F-150 also doesn’t cheat with an air dam that screwes up your approach angles and ground clearance like Ram and GM.

      The Ecoboost’s only major issue is with the starting, and it cannot cause any mechanical damage to the engine. Ford set up a website for this issue. The NHTSA has not sent a recall order to Ford because the issue affects a very small number of Ecoboost owners. The NHTSA doesn’t have any manufacturer bias, they just review safety concerns and send out recalls. If anyone went running for government assistance it was General Motors in 2008.

      The Ecoboost F-150 has the highest customer satisfaction per Consumer Reports. Higher than any other pickup or pickup configuration. You can’t close your eyes and close your ears to that. Now i’m a Toyota guy thru and thru but the Ecoboost bashing is ridiculous.

      • Mickey says:

        The NHTSA doesn’t have any manufacturer bias, they just review safety concerns and send out recalls.

        You are kidding me right? How we forget the acceleration issue. How Ray went after the Toyota execs. Ford had the same issue acceleration and did Ray go after Ford. That’s a big NO. Buddy you are definitely wrong on that statement.

  9. mk says:

    from my real world testing with well over 10 chevy silverado’s 5.3 and 5.7L engines daily driving and 3 now 2007 on up 5.7L tundra’s, I can honestly state the mostly daily hwy. avg. mpg for BOTH are within 1-2 at most mpg better with GM, not even 2 mostly 1 more mpg is all. To sacrifice all that power is not worth 1 more mpg. I’m really interested in the new 5.3L hype GM silverado quoting 23 hwy mpg. I find it really hard to believe in ‘real’ world testing. Would like to find out though and if a dealer will let me (doubt they will) I’d like to keep a new 2014 silverado over the weekend and put 300 miles on it (full tank of gas) and drive it sensibly mostly on hwys. and see if I achieve 22 mpg vs. 17.5 with the tundra. If so, 4 more mpg difference is something to brag about. But, pulling anything, I can almost guarantee you the chevy and tundra are the same.

    I also concur the ecoboost is not all that it is cracked up to be not speaking from direct experience. A guy at work bought the V6 ecoboost ford f150 and he says it pulls/tows very well and has tons of off the line power, but he is also stating the mpg is not what it should be by any means. He didn’t say at what number, just disappointed in mpg is all, especially towing since he pulls cattle trailers and rightfully so since any V6 even twin turbos has to work harder to achieve the pulling power thus decreasing mpg.

    I’m sure the ford ecoboost v6 if not pulling anything and not kicking it down ever on level road will achieve over 20 mpg but who really drives like a granny all the time?? Heck, if I drive 55-60 mph mostly level roads in the 5.7L tundra, I can achieve 19.5 avg mpg as well, just not over 20 with a 4wd truck.

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