New EPA Fuel Estimates for Cars and Lights Trucks

Fact Sheet


Shruti Vaidyanathan


In response to complaints that the fuel economy values on new vehicle labels were too high, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has adopted new methods to estimate fuel economy for cars and light trucks, starting with the 2008 model year. These new estimates, which should better reflect "real world" driving conditions, are part of a regulation that will bring into effect three important changes:

  • More accurate mile per gallon (MPG) estimates. EPA will now include previously omitted factors such as high speeds, quicker acceleration, air conditioning use and cold temperature driving in their estimation of fuel economy.
  • Fuel economy labels for heavier vehicles (up to 10,000 pounds), beginning with 2011 model cars
  • Changes in the overall design of the fuel economy labels displayed on new vehicles. The new label will show a "combined" fuel economy, in addition to city and highway values, enabling consumers to compare fuel economy between vehicles more easily.

These changes will serve to improve consumer information but will have no direct impact on average fuel economy. Manufacturers' Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) levels depend on "unadjusted" test results, which are much higher than new label values.