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Fuel Consumption Ratings Background

Fuel Consumption Ratings
Fuel consumption is measured under controlled conditions in a laboratory, using a set of tests that are set forth in regulations issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and adopted by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan).  The test results are used for two purposes:  (1) to establish compliance with the greenhouse gas emissions regulations; and (2) to provide the estimated fuel economy rating for each vehicle.  These ratings are applied to fuel consumption labels normally found on showroom new vehicle windows and are published on the Canadian government-sponsored website:

Fuel Consumption Labels and Real World Performance
Both EPA and NRCan websites advise that while its ratings are a useful tool for comparing the fuel economies of different vehicles, fuel consumption ratings are not fixed numbers.  According to NRCan, “…no test can simulate all the possible combinations of climate road conditions, vehicle load and driving habits. As such, your vehicle’s fuel consumption may differ from the estimates…”  EPA and NRCan have identified several factors that can lower a car’s fuel consumption including:  cold weather, aggressive driving, excessive idling, accelerating, and braking in stop-and-go traffic, driving with a heavy load or with the air conditioner on, improperly tuned engine or under-inflated tires; use of remote starters, and small manufacturing variations.

More information on fuel consumption labels and real world performance can be found here:

November 2, 2012