U.S. EPA revises vehicle mileage formula for 2008 and beyond

Wondering why your Escalade gets eight miles to the gallon, not the 11 that was advertised? U.S. EPA to the rescue! In a move reflecting “real-world numbers,” the agency has revised the way it crunches mileage numbers for the first time since 1984. The new formula — ordered by Congress last year and debuting with 2008 models — considers formerly ignored factors like weather, air conditioning, super-speedy acceleration (yeah, we’re looking at you), and stop-and-go traffic. It’s likely to cut current city-mile estimates by 12 percent and highway-mile numbers by 8 percent; stats for hybrids will drop even more, because of changes in how the cars’ all-electric mode is calculated. The shift “ensures American motorists won’t be stuck with higher-than-anticipated charges at the pump,” said Stephen Johnson, who heads the agency. Giddy bureaucrats also declared that mileage estimates must be posted for medium-duty pickups, vans, and SUVs starting in model year 2011. Whew, reality is heady stuff.