Sunday, December 9, 2012

Ford hybrids don't live up to MPG hype - maybe

Ford hybrids don't live up to MPG hype - Consumer Reports - Dec. 6, 2012:
The EPA estimates that both the Fusion Hybrid and C-Max Hybrid get 47 miles per gallon in both city and highway driving. In Consumer Reports testing, the Fusion Hybrid got 35 mpg in city driving and 41 on the highway. That works out to 8 mpg less than EPA estimates in combined city and highway driving. The C-Max hybrid, meanwhile, got 35 mpg in city driving and 38 on the highway in the Consumer Reports test. That's 10 mpg less than EPA estimates in combined driving.
"This is the biggest discrepancy of any current model," said Jake Fisher, head of auto testing at Consumer Reports.
But this probably isn't the important story - it seems that driving style impacts fuel consumption most in the vehicles that can be most efficient, as the story at CNN goes on to imply.

At least some owners have had good experience with the fuel mileage in both vehicles, Ford said in a statement.
"Early C-MAX Hybrid and Fusion Hybrid customers praise the vehicles and report a range of fuel economy figures, including some reports above 47 mpg," the automaker said. "This reinforces the fact that driving styles, driving conditions, and other factors can cause mileage to vary."
Differences between EPA and Consumer Reports fuel economy testing are usually larger for hybrid cars than for others. For instance, following Ford's (F, Fortune 500) C-Max and Fusion, the next five vehicles with the biggest discrepancies are all hybrids, according to Consumer Reports. They are the Toyota (TM) Prius C, Toyota Prius, Honda(HMC) Civic Hybrid, Infiniti M35h and Lexus ES300h.
The driving style is important beyond the hybrid vehicle world.
Recently a family member test drove a large vehicle (the Honda Pilot) and commented after the drive it was  a bit of a game to keep the "ECO" light on.
All vehicles can be more or less efficient depending on how they are driven, including frequency.
The excellent Do the Math blog "Easing Off the Gas" entry illustrated this.

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