New Improved EPA Mileage Estimates for 2008+ Models
Most drivers have complained that their cars could not get the mileage promised by the EPA fuel economy figures. Starting with 2008 models, the EPA revised its testing procedures to more accurately reflect real driving conditions.
J. D. Power surveyed owners of 2008 cars and found that drivers said there were getting 5% better gas mileage than the EPA estimates.
Writing in the NY Times blog, Wheels , Cheryl Jensen reports that before the agency adopted the new method, owners of hybrids were often among the most disappointed that they couldn’t achieve the optimistic estimates on the window sticker. Now, more hybrid owners said they were getting fuel economy closer to what the E.P.A. predicted, or even more.
The Toyota Prius is an example. In the 2007 survey, consumers reported getting only 81 percent of the E.P.A.’s estimates, which were 60 m.p.g. in the city and 51 m.p.g. on the highway. In the 2008 survey, drivers reported getting 94 percent of the new estimates, which are 48 m.p.g. in the city and 45 on the highway.
Bankruptcy Expert’s Proposal to Save the American Auto Industry
J. Ronald Trost, a leading expert on bankruptcy law, has a proposal to save GM, Ford and Chrysler. His proposal in the NY Times is a restructuring under the umbrella of a special federal statute. He states ordinary Chapter 11 proceeding won’t work for various reasons.
The federal restructuring statute would be the basis for a reorganization covering labor contracts, including retirement and health care obligations, supplier contracts, dealer franchises and pre-existing debt. State law dealer protection statutes would be pre-empted presumably to allow the manufacturers to dump excess dealers.
The federal government would guarantee bank loans with priority over other obligations, there would a guarantee that warranty claims would be paid, and possibly a new entity created to buy car loans.
Auto Care Myths Cost Consumers & Harm the Environment
Dealers and oil changer companies typically recommend changing oil every 3 months or 3,000 miles. On November 6, 2008, GM issued a statement that this recommendation is the biggest myth in the car business. GM has a Oil Life System (OLS) in almost all its models that monitors combustion events, engine temperature and other parameters to gauge oil’s life. Using the data, OLS tells drivers exactly when their engine oil should be replaced. Changing oil when OLS indicates it is time to do so, a motorist who drives 15,000 miles a year would make two or three fewer oil changes a year as compared to changing oil every 3 months or 3,000 miles.
California Travel Guides and Vacation Rankings
If all drivers of GM vehicles equipped with OLS use the system as intended, they would save more than 100 million gallons of motor oil annually compared to the 3,000 mile interval.
There are environmental consequences to too frequent oil changes. The American Petroleum Institute states that 1 billion gallons of motor oil are sold each year of which 185 million gallons are improperly disposed in the trash or down a drain.
The California EPA encourages drivers to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on oil changes. Manufacturers that do not have an OLS system in their cars typically recommend changing oil every 7,500 miles,
Other myths–today’s electronically controlled engines do not need “tune-ups” and there is no need for chassis lubrication, annual radiator flushes, or routine wheel alignment.