Real World Driving Tests Show Current EPA Miles per Gallon Estimates Are Outdated, AAA Says

Washington, D.C. – 3/2/2005

Each year, AAA car review experts test hundreds of vehicles under “real world” driving conditions and come to the same conclusion as many motorists — the actual miles per gallon achieved during the daily use of a vehicle generally falls well short of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates. AAA’s “real world” driving tests found dozens of examples where vehicle miles per gallon for 2003 and 2004 model years were overestimated because of outdated 30-year-old EPA tests.

To address this issue, AAA today announced its support of the “Fuel Efficiency Truth-in-Advertising Act of 2005” that would require EPA to update its miles per gallon testing procedures.

The legislation has bi-partisan support in the United States Congress and is sponsored by U.S. Representative Nancy Johnson (R-CT) and U.S. Representative Rush Holt (D-NJ).

“When it comes to gas mileage, some car buyers are finding out they are not getting what they thought they paid for,” said Susan Pikrallidas, AAA Vice President of Public Affairs. “When a consumer is told your mileage results may vary — it probably should say ‘your results WILL vary.'”

AAA cited mpg in its test drives of some of the most popular vehicles driven today that were significantly lower than EPA city estimates.

Although the AAA test drives are neither standardized nor scientific, the nation’s organization for motorists says its “real world” driving trips may be more meaningful to consumers as they make car-buying decisions. AAA’s testers put vehicles through a range of driving cycles that include stop and go traffic, climbing steep grades, trips to the grocery and a combination of both highway and city driving. AAA’s full vehicle reviews can be found at

The current EPA tests were established in the late 1970s and do not take into account higher speed limits on many interstates and increased congestion nationwide. The tests are even conducted with the air conditioner off.

“We believe consumers should have the most accurate information possible when it comes to expected gas mileage of the vehicles they purchase,” said Pikrallidas.

“This would be accomplished by requiring EPA to use real-world tests in setting federal mileage estimates.”

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides its 47 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.

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