Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

EPA Fuel Economy Audits Keep Automakers Honest

Business
EPA Fuel Economy Audits Keep Automakers Honest

Brandon Baker

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will soon release the results of fuel economy audits of 20 car and truck models across the industry.

The audits, conducted on tracks in Arizona and Michigan, were designed to ensure the accuracy of carmakers' miles-per-gallon (MPG) claims, Automotive News reported (subscription required). The EPA did not provide an exact date for the release of the report. The ongoing federal government shutdown will likely delay the audits' release.

This year marks the first time the audit results will be made public. Christopher Grundler, head of the EPA's Office of Transportation and Air Quality, told Automotive News that the results will be presented in "plain English."

"That's just consistent with the way I want us to work," he said. "We use public resources to do these tests, and the public deserves access to the work."

Last year, the audits led to Hyundai and Kia lowering their advertised fuel economy. The greatest change was on the Kia Soul, which had been advertising highway fuel economy that was six miles-per-gallon too high.

The audits involve EPA workers double-checking the "coast-down" test conducted by auto manufacturers once a car is produced. The test measures the aerodynamics of a vehicle, its tires' rolling resistance and the amount of friction in its drivetrain. The manufacturers use the readings to program a dynamometer for running a vehicle through the EPA's test cycles and to come up with MPG estimates.

Fuel economy data is used for federal programs like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Corporate Average Fuel Economy and greenhouse gas emission standards for cars and light trucks.

"Regulating and testing fuel economy plays an important role in deterring air pollution throughout the United States streets and communities," according to the EPA.

A grim new assessment of the world's flora and fungi has found that two-fifths of its species are at risk of extinction as humans encroach on the natural world, as The Guardian reported. That puts the number of species at risk near 140,000.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Flowers like bladderwort have changed their UV pigment levels in response to the climate crisis. Jean and Fred / CC BY 2.0

As human activity transforms the atmosphere, flowers are changing their colors.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A factory in Newark, N.J. emits smoke in the shadow of NYC on January 18, 2018. Kena Betancur / VIEWpress / Corbis / Getty Images

By Sharon Zhang

Back in March, when the pandemic had just planted its roots in the U.S., President Donald Trump directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to do something devastating: The agency was to indefinitely and cruelly suspend environmental rule enforcement. The EPA complied, and for just under half a year, it provided over 3,000 waivers that granted facilities clemency from state-level environmental rule compliance.

Read More Show Less
A meteoroid skims the earth's atmosphere on Sept. 22, 2020. European Space Agency

A rare celestial event was caught on camera last week when a meteoroid "bounced" off Earth's atmosphere and veered back into space.

Read More Show Less
A captive elephant is seen at Howletts Wild Animal Park in Littlebourne, England. Suvodeb Banerjee / Flickr / CC by 2.0

By Bob Jacobs

Hanako, a female Asian elephant, lived in a tiny concrete enclosure at Japan's Inokashira Park Zoo for more than 60 years, often in chains, with no stimulation. In the wild, elephants live in herds, with close family ties. Hanako was solitary for the last decade of her life.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch