EPA Lowers Prius Mileage Estimate
Feds' Findings Confirm Consumer Complaints
By Joe Benton
December 19, 2006
Prius owners concerned about poor mileage in their hybrids have been
belittled, ridiculed and misled as they searched for some reason why
their little cars continually came up short in fuel mileage.
Prius consumers have listened while dealers and technicians offered
sometimes outlandish explanations of why their own fuel mileage
calculations were wrong and why Toyota claims for the Prius were
Other Prius owners even accused the complainers of disloyalty to the
Toyota claimed the little hybrid would get 60 miles per gallon in city
traffic, not just the 45 many consumers were experiencing.
One Prius owner told ConsumerAffairs.Com that her Toyota technician
went so far as to explain how the onboard computer in the Prius took
into account of head winds along with other sophisticated
Now it turns out that most of the hybrid owners questioning Toyota's
mileage claims for the Prius were right on target while Toyota was
wrong, at least according to the Environmental Protection Agency's new
The facts seem to be that the Prius gets 45 miles to a gallon on
average in the city. That is the new word according to the EPA.
The government fuel economy estimate also confirms
ConsumerAffairs.Com's road test of the Prius in July. That test drive
concluded that the Prius got 45.2 miles per gallon in vigorous city
Just this last October, the very same EPA that now says the Prius gets
roughly 45 miles to a gallon praised the little car for topping the
government mileage list with 60 miles per gallon in the city and 51
miles per gallon on the highway despite protests from many Prius
owners saying that just wasn't so.
The Prius did not come close to 60 miles per gallon in the
ConsumerAffairs.Com test either.
So now the troubling question for Toyota is this: Will the Prius with
its new and more reliable mileage rating still be a hit with
consumers? Will the little car that is now rated at 45 miles per
gallon in the city be as popular as the same car that was believed to
get 60 miles per gallon around town?
A Toyota spokeswoman said her company expects customers to understand
that the technology in the Prius hasn't changed, and company marketing
for the popular hybrid will not be revised.
The desire for fuel economy is the reason most consumers plunk down
big bucks for a Prius or one of the other gas-electric hybrids that
are consuming a fast-growing slice of the American auto market.
Now that the EPA has washed most of the fiction from its fuel mileage
numbers, will the hybrid market suffer?
Let's see... would I want a car that gets 45 mpg around town or one that
gets 15 or 20 (again, real world)? Decisions, decisions....
On thing that this article completely misses is that the new EPA
standards affect all vehicles that are currently covered by them. So,
when the Prius goes from 60 MPG to 45 MPH, a 30 MPG car will go to 23 or
24 MPG (depending on whether they round or truncate fractions), and the
Hummer will go from 13 to 9 or 10 MPG.
Support the troops: Bring them home ASAP.
Plus, wasn't it the EPA who began the 60 mpg test figures and not Toyota?
Oh, I like the new V8 muscle car Ford is making following the design of the
Mustang. Again, the US automakers wonder why?
Michelle Steiner wrote:
My 2000 Avalon was rated 29/19 and got 22.5 (measured with logbook at
the gas pump) on the same commute my 2007 Prius gets 45. Myself and many
others routinely exceeded the EPA ratings in Avalons without going to
any extremes. My last two tanks of gas in the Avalon were 30.5 and 29.5 MPG.
There is/was something about the EPA city tests that the Prius was able
to take advantage of, that human drivers can not. Is a gross mistake to
extrapolate the Prius EPA ratings to all other vehicles.
The Prius EPA highway rating appears to be about right.