EPA/DOE Release Fuel Economy Guide For 2007 Models; Hybrids Lead List

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and EPA have released the 2007 Fuel Economy Guide, and hybrid vehicles continue to lead the government's fuel economy ratings.

The 2007 Fuel Economy Guide, released on Oct. 17, is designed to help consumers make well-informed choices when purchasing new vehicles. Toyota Prius, Honda Civic, Toyota Camry Hybrid and Ford Escape Hybrid FWD models top the list.

"By fueling consumers with better information, EPA is helping American motorists conserve their money while preserving our environment," said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. "Steering our nation away from foreign oil dependency, President Bush is investing in energy innovations and bringing breakthroughs in fuel efficiency from the labs to the streets."

"Each year millions of Americans buy new cars, and by using fuel economy information, each consumer can make a more educated decision that will help conserve energy and save money," Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman said. "In addition to looking at the miles-per-gallon rating, I would also encourage Americans to buy flex-fuel vehicles, which are also good for our economy because they use homegrown E-85."

Fuel economy estimates, which appear on the window stickers of all new cars and light trucks prior to sale, are determined by tests that manufacturers and EPA conduct according to EPA specifications. This year's label values are based on the same test methods that have been used in recent years. However, in February EPA proposed changing the methods to better reflect what drivers are experiencing on the road. EPA expects to finalize these changes in time to take effect with 2008 models.

Dan Becker, director Sierra Club's Global Warming Program stated that EPA's changes will unlikely include any new labeling requirements for "flexible-fuel vehicles" (FFVs). He said that these vehicles can, but rarely do, run on ethanol -- "even though the report demonstrates that consumers will get significantly lower fuel economy when operating FFVs, resulting in higher fuel costs and questionable environmental benefits when running on E 85.

"Since the Big Three are aggressively pushing FFVs as environmentally responsible vehicles, it is important that consumers are given accurate information. That is why the Sierra Club, along with colleague organizations, has petitioned EPA to address this problem by including specific labeling requirements for FFVs in its upcoming rulemaking," Becker stated.

More information on E 85, an alcohol fuel mixture of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline, can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E85.

The joint DOE-EPA Fuel Economy Web site, http://www.fueleconomy.gov, offers detailed information on vehicle fuel economy, including a complete downloadable version of the Fuel Economy Guide.

Comprehensive information about EPA's Fuel Economy program can be found at http://www.epa.gov/fueleconomy.

The Green Vehicle Guide Web site, http://www.epa.gov/greenvehicles, provides browsers with a guide to locate the cleanest running and most fuel efficient vehicle that meets their needs.

The 2007 fuel economy leaders within each class as well as the lowest fuel economy models are available at http://www.epa.gov/fueleconomy/overall-high.htm.

This article originally appeared in the 10/01/2006 issue of Environmental Protection.