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New Consumer Reports Tests Question EPA Mileage Numbers

December 8th 2005

New Consumer Reports Tests Question EPA Mileage Numbers

Honda Insight Hybrid

With higher insurance costs and gas prices many consumers are looking for ways to save money.  Budding automobile purchasers are considering hybrid cars as a way to achieve that goal.  But are the hybrids really worth it?

It depends on who you talk to.  Some buyers complain that they are not getting the advertised gas mileage.  On an ABC World News Tonight story buyers are seen grumbling over what they perceive as a misrepresentation. 

The cars are put through a standardized Dyno-test that other cars go through to get the gas mileage figures.  The EPA has been doing this for years, but now that gas mileage has become an ever increasing factor for buying a hybrid, the numbers are being heavily scrutinized. 


Consumer Reports Magazine has found that actual road tests indicate the cars may get lower gas mileage than what the EPA claims.  For instance, the EPA claims the Toyota Prius gets 60 mpg (miles per gallon), but consumer reports claims it only gets 35 mpg.  The EPA claimed the Honda Civic Hybrid gets 48 mpg in the city while Consumer Reports claims it gets only 26 mpg.

It is important to note that regular / conventional cars did not fare as well by Consumer Reports either.  Their numbers were well below what the EPA came up with in their tests.  The EPA is considering revising their EPA mpg calculations to consider energy consuming factors like air conditioning and heating.

Hybrid cars are still considerably more fuel efficient than conventional gas cars.  The hybrid car manufacturers recommend some energy saving driving techniques like not gunning the car from a stop.  

Hybrids have really caught on and expect to see more trucks and SUVís incorporating the hybrid technology.  Also next year, the Federal Government will be offering tax credits that will make purchasing a hybrid more appealing.  Currently you can get a tax deduction for purchasing a hybrid. 


Tax credits will save you much more money, thus making your break-even point much sooner.  If you drive a long commute and you can save just $5 per day on gas, that works out to $1,300 per year saved on gas (5 day work week X 52 weeks).  If the hybrids cost you $3,000 more than the conventional car and you can get a $2,000 tax credit you will break even within one year.  You will continue to save $1,300 ever year after that.

The details behind the tax credits have not been finalized, but when they are bring your calculator and a sharp pencil to the dealer with you.  Earlier reports indicate the tax credits will vary from model to model.  A smart choice at that time could save you money year after year.           

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By Dan Wilson
Best Syndication Staff Writer

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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                                            Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:41 PM