We've all known for a long time that EPA fuel economy estimates should be taken with a grain of salt. Well, actually, with a bucket of salt, as the testing was done to simulate a very patient 85-year-old behind the wheel, on a road lined with by-the-book traffic cops (for example, the hardest acceleration used was the equivalent of zero to 60 in 18 seconds). Now the EPA says they'll be revising their tests (which had remained unchanged since 1984) using higher speeds, air conditioning, and colder outside temperatures. Hybrid vehicles will take the biggest estimated-mileage hit, no doubt diluting the sense of smug superiority held by their owners. [New York Times]
I've been averaging 21.9 MPG in my Fleetwood, which is actually better than the EPA's revised figure of 18, but similar to their original figure of 21, so either I drive much more economically than the average person (doubtful), or the new rating system still has bugs for at least some car models.