Car mileage testing will catch up with reality, EPA declares

After years of criticism from greens and independent testing groups, the U.S. EPA announced on Friday that its rules for testing automobile fuel economy will finally be updated and revised. New standards should be in place for testing 2008 model year cars. It’s a move long opposed by the automobile industry, since the revisions could decrease mile-per-gallon estimates for new vehicles by as much as 10 percent. EPA chief Stephen Johnson says the new standards will reflect the realities of driving conditions and auto technology in 2005 — rather than, say, 1977, when testing standards were first established, or 1985, when they were last updated — like more stop-and-go driving, greater use of air conditioning, and faster highway speeds. A GM exec objected that it’s not the aged testing standards that are the problem, but variations in people’s driving habits, which skew how far they get on a gallon of gas. See, people? You’re just driving ’em wrong.