Quantcast

EPA Fuel Economy Audits Keep Automakers Honest

Business

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.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) speaks during the North American Building Trades Unions Conference at the Washington Hilton April 10, 2019 in Washington, DC. Zach Gibson / Getty Images

Colorado senator and 2020 hopeful Michael Bennet introduced his plan to combat climate change Monday, in the first major policy rollout of his campaign. Bennet's plan calls for the establishment of a "Climate Bank," using $1 trillion in federal spending to "catalyze" $10 trillion in private spending for the U.S. to transition entirely to net-zero emissions by 2050.

Read More Show Less
Foto-Rabe / Pixabay

When Trump's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its replacement for the Obama-era Clean Power Plan in August 2018, its own estimates said the reduced regulations could lead to 1,400 early deaths a year from air pollution by 2030.

Now, the EPA wants to change the way it calculates the risks posed by particulate matter pollution, using a model that would lower the death toll from the new plan, The New York Times reported Monday. Five current or former EPA officials familiar with the plan told The Times that the new method would assume there is no significant health gain by lowering air pollution levels below the legal limit. However, many public health experts say that there is no safe level of particulate matter exposure, which has long been linked to heart and lung disease.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
A crate carrying one of the 33 lions rescued from circuses in Peru and Columbia is lifted onto the back of a lorry before being transported to a private reserve on April 30, 2016 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Dan Kitwood / Getty Images

By Andrea Germanos

Animal welfare advocates are praising soon-to-be introduced legislation in the U.S. that would ban the use of wild animals in traveling circuses.

Read More Show Less
A tornado Monday in Union City, Oklahoma. TicToc by Bloomberg / YouTube screenshot

Extreme weather spawned 18 tornadoes across five states Monday, USA Today reported. Tornadoes were reported in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and Arizona, but were not as dangerous as forecasters had initially feared, the Associated Press reported.

Read More Show Less
A woman walks in front of her water-logged home in Sriwulan village, Sayung sub-district of Demak regency, Central Java, Indonesia on Feb. 2, 2018. Siswono Toyudho / Anadolu Agency /Getty Images

A new study has more than doubled the worst-case-scenario projection for sea level rise by the end of the century, BBC News reported Monday.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Matt Cardy / Stringer / Getty Images

The Guardian is changing the way it writes about environmental issues.

Read More Show Less
Blueberry yogurt bark. SEE D JAN / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Lizzie Streit, MS, RDN, LD

Having nutritious snacks to eat during the workday can help you stay energized and productive.

Read More Show Less
A 2017 flood in Elk Grove, California. Florence Low / California Department of Water Resources

By Tara Lohan

It's been the wettest 12 months on record in the continental United States. Parts of the High Plains and Midwest are still reeling from deadly, destructive and expensive spring floods — some of which have lasted for three months.

Mounting bills from natural disasters like these have prompted renewed calls to reform the National Flood Insurance Program, which is managed by Federal Emergency Management Agency and is now $20 billion in debt.

Read More Show Less