EPA Updates Gas Mileage Testing Standards

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With gas prices soaring, fuel economy has become even more important to residents across the Grand Valley. Until this past year, however, some may have found their cars weren't getting the gas mileage they thought they were.

"If they tell us they're going to get thirty-five miles to a gallon on a particular when in fact it's getting thirty-two, we as a dealer are going to hear about it," said Kevin Lemarr, sales manager at Western Ford.

A 2006 study conducted by AAA says when the government tested gas mileage, cars were only driven at 55 miles an hour rather than the highway speed of 75 miles an hour. They also did not use the air conditioning or heat during testing, which can influence fuel efficiency.

The study found when these factors were not taken into consideration, gas mileage was about four miles less per gallon than what was advertised.

"They need to make sure when they test stuff, that they test it in a real world application," said Lemarr. "This makes it more conducive to what a customer is expecting."

The government has now done that. New 2008 models made after September 1 are tested with standards that more accurately reflect the way people drive.

Car dealers say these new standards have caused the number of miles per gallon to drop slightly. They say, however, that the number will remain high if cars are cared for.

Ford says you can keep your gas mileage up if you accelerate smoothly and keep your tires properly inflated.

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