CAFE and the EPA: Fuel economy for advertising deception, not the real world
When 40 mpg actually means 17 mpg
Let’s say you live in Venice, CA and commute to downtown daily for your 9-5. Every morning you cruise down Venice Boulevard — or at least you try to, but instead find yourself stuck at stop light after stop light — until you finally make it to the long line of cars slowly merging onto the 405. From there stop-and-go traffic takes you to the 10 interchange and downtown, at a top speed of 30 mph, if you’re lucky.
So, to save money at the pump, you buy one of those new 40 mpg cars you’ve been hearing about endlessly, but are disappointed to find that you aren’t even averaging 20 mpg. WTF!?
Earlier today I read Hyundai Responds to Consumer Watchdog’s Elantra Fuel Economy Complaints. Turns out small cars like the Elantra, Chevy Cruze, Honda Civic, etc. don’t typically achieve their CAFE or EPA rated fuel economy numbers. In fact, while automakers tout their new 40 mpg lineup — with tiny asterisks of course — some achieve as little as just 17 mpg in city driving.
17 mpg, yet automakers can’t stop spinning the 40 mpg number.
Of course, many people don’t have LA-style commutes. Nevertheless, these 40 mpg vehicles average closer to 30 mpgs rather than 40 mpgs.
So, why doesn’t the government do something?
They are, right? The government is going to increase CAFE requirements to 55 mpg, although once government math is actualized, the real number is more like 37 mpg in the real world, and probably even lower if you’re a heavy city driver — you know, the kind of congestion transportation studies suggest is the future of the world. But why worry about reality? 1 +1 doesn’t always equal 2.
The real world just doesn’t sell. It has to be made sexy. I mean, seriously, everybody in Jersey doesn’t live the Jersey Shore lifestyle? Everyone in LA doesn’t live like 90210? No way.
Today, big automotive corporations — so critical to the US economy — are in many respects enabled by the government to almost lie to the people, for a profit. Why? Would the truth really be so dangerous? Is reality really so worthless?