SAN FRANCISCO - May 26 - As nearly 40 million motorists hit the roads over the Memorial Day weekend, environmentalists are asking them to do a little homework while theyre out there. Bluewater Network, a national environmental group based in San Francisco, is urging Americans to keep track of their fuel economy and compare it to the value advertised on the cars window sticker.
Motorists may be surprised by how much lower their fuel economy is than what the EPA fuel economy label says it should be, said Russell Long, Executive Director of Bluewater Network. A study by Bluewater Network estimates that real-world fuel economy is as much as 34 percent lower than the governments figures suggest. Theyve petitioned the EPA to correct the outdated tests on which the label values are based, and EPA responded by opening up the issue for public comment.
With record-high fuel prices, this weekends travel will hit consumers pocketbooks more than ever. According to Bluewater Network, consumers could be paying as much as $300 more for gas each year than they expected when they bought their vehicle. If youre concerned about gas prices, global warming, or Americas over-dependence on oil, its time to share your disappointment with the EPA, said Elisa Lynch, Global Warming Campaign Director of Bluewater Network. Weve made the comment process easy, by allowing consumers to write to EPA directly through our website: http://en.groundspring.org/en/go?j=3272335&u=12054.
The fuel economy values on new vehicle window labels and in EPAs annual Fuel Economy Guide are dismally low, but the actual fuel economy that Americas passenger vehicles are achieving on the road is even worse. This is due to the fact that reported figures are based on test procedures and calculation methods that were designed more than two decades ago, when conditions on Americas roads were far different than they are today. Significant changes in traffic and driving patterns that have occurred in the interim have rendered these procedures and methods obsolete and inaccurate.
High gasoline prices, national security concerns about increasing US dependence on foreign oil, and mounting evidence that global warming is a reality have led the public to take a renewed interest in the fuel economy of passenger cars and trucks. Our ever-growing fleet of passenger vehicles is guzzling gas and spewing out emissions that contribute to global warming at an increasingly frenzied rate, while the average fuel economy of new vehicles has plummeted to its lowest point in twenty years. The EPA is accepting comments on whether they should update fuel economy testing until July 27th, 2004.