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Posted Tue Aug 16 2011: from Bloomberg:
EPA's Outdated Tests Leave American Cars Guzzling Gas: View
At issue is how federal regulators calculate each automaker's Corporate Average Fuel Economy. Obscure as these CAFE ratings may be, their public policy impact is vast. Whenever the U.S. government tells automakers to boost their CAFE scores -- as it did this summer -- it transforms the next generation of cars Americans drive. The trouble is, the tests used to gauge fuel efficiency don't reflect the way we actually drive, especially on the highway. The government's highway test involves a top speed of 60 mph, an average speed of 48.3 mph, no use of heaters or air conditioners and an achingly slow initial acceleration in which it takes more than a minute to go from zero to 50 mph.... It would be one thing if this exercise in pokey driving produced equally distorted scores for all models. But the outmoded CAFE process risks short-changing cars with smart fuel- saving features in favor of others that are engineered for the test.... Under the current tests, the stated goal of 54.5 mpg by 2025 is a number that will be achieved only on paper, car experts say. In practical terms, hitting the CAFE target is likely to produce a more modest 40 mpg to 42 mpg in real-life driving, analysts say.
[Read more stories about: efficiency increase, carbon emissions, bad policy]

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'Doc Michael says:
These are the consequences of the No Automobile Left Behind Act.

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