Consumer Reports just published a series of articles on EPA mileage estimates and how they compare to real-world results. As it turns out, 90% of all vehicles surveyed got worse than expected mileage, with the biggest discrepancies (up to 50% below EPA estimates) occurring in city driving. Even those thrifty hybrids are getting in on the action, with city mileage falling up to 19 MPG short of the EPA estimates. Most troubling of all is that the gulf between the EPA values and real-world results appears to have been growing over time. In short, while the EPA estimates allow you to make comparions amongst makes/models, they’re not very good indicators of actual mileage. Until the system is overhauled, CR suggests that you discount the EPA estimates for city travel by the following amounts: conventional cars and trucks, 30 percent; larger hybrids, 35 percent; diesels, 36 percent; smaller hybrids, 42 percent.
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