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Why EPA MPG Ratings Are Not Your Ratings

Haven’t we all purchased vehicles that just don’t seem to ever reach anywhere near their stated EPA MPG ratings? Sure we have, and considering the price of gas these days, this discrepancy can be down-right maddening. In fact, in at least one case, this discrepancy has led to an automaker, Honda, being found guilty in small claims court.

However, the difference between the EPA ratings and our real-life ratings are not necessarily a sign of a conspiracy. There are actually some understandable reasons behind our failure to achieve the EPA ratings.

The first problem is that that the EPA combined rating assumes that vehicles are driven 55% of the time on the highway at the exact speed limit. Unfortunately, most drivers spend nowhere near 55% of their time behind the wheel on the highway. We tend to sit the bulk of our time stuck in traffic, stopping and starting at lights and stop signs in the city. This city driving consumes much more gas than does highway driving.

Interestingly, driving hybrid vehicles in the city or on the highway create an inverse consumption of gas. They use more gas on the highway than they do in the city.

Another reason drivers miss the EPA ratings is their use of the air-conditioner. This savage beast can decrease fuel efficiency by up to 14%.  If you are one of our Florida or Nevada auto loan customers, you know that you utilize your AC nearly 365 days a year! A cause for our lagging behind the EPA is the same reason our beltlines are increasing, we simply are not honest with ourselves. We drive more quickly and more erratically than we would like to admit.

About the Author

The author has many years of experience in automotive finance and insurance. However, each consumer's situation is unique. It is best to contact a finance specialist for further assistance.
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