The method for determining the EPA MPG estimates has changed. The old method wasn’t especially realistic because they modelled driving in fair weather, without air conditioning, at sub-interstate speeds. The new method will be reflected on vehicle stickers starting with the 2008 model year. But if you’re interested in how your current car would be rated under the new methodology, go ahead and take a look.
I remember when the EPA rated the 2004 Prius at 60 MPG for city driving, Toyota petitioned to be allowed to advertise a lower, more realistic number. The petition was denied, and some buyers were unhappy when the vehicle didn’t meet their inflated expectations. With the newer method, it would have been rated at 48 MPG city.
numbers (combined//city/highway) for my last few cars:
- 2004 Toyota Prius: 55//60/51 old, 46//48/45 new (16%//20%/12% lower)
- 2001 Toyota Prius: 48//52/45 old, 41//42/41 new (15%//19%/9% lower)
- 2002 Chrysler PT Cruiser: 22//19/25 old, 20//17/23 new (9%//12%/8% lower)
- 1998 Honda Civic LX: 32//29/36 old, 28//25/33 new (13%//14%/8% lower)
I’m not sure I buy the 41 MPG estimate for the 2001 Prius. I average about 46 MPG on the 2001 Prius (and also on the 2004) unless the weather is frigid. That’s driving normally. If I put in a lot of effort I can push it above 50 MPG, but I never keep it up for long.