As you can see on the left "in the news", the EPA is finally changing the way they test vehicles for fuel economy estimates. Around a year ago, a petition was gaining momentum to change this and it finally caught on.
Basically, their antiquated methods of testing dated back to the 70's where 55 was the speed limit and traffic was much less congested. So next year, expect a 15-20% decrease around town and 10% highway on the average. Why is this good?
* Actual mileage may vary -- but now it's closer to what you're actually going to get.
* CAFE standards will force auto makers to make their car fleets even more efficient.
* "Sticker Shock" will make more people aware of fuel economy. Kudos to the EPA...
I hope they smack some sense into the Prius. The owner of greenhybrids.com has one and gets like 47 something on it, when it's rater 60/51, and when he tested the new HCH he got a tad more (48ish) though it's rated 50/50 or something silly.
It's really going to hammer city driving, which is what the Hybrids are really designed for. 80% of my driving is highway, so that's the number I look at. The new gas Civic gets 40 -- so why buy 50/50 for the HCH? The only reason I can think of is a tax cred and the standard Navi (plus less overall emissions) unless you live in LA or something. I'm thinking it'll be more like 48/40 for the HCH and 25/38 for the gas Civic with the new EPA adjustments.
You made a good point that I didn't consider before. The CAFE standards require the entire US fleet to be at a certain level of fuel economy. Manufacturers get away with making monster cars by averaging in the good EPA ratings of the hybrids.
This trick will still work, but now they're going to have to actually perform as well as they claim, which means we should start seeing some real 60mpg cars in the next few years.
Remember, the HCH doesn't have the same town properties of the prius, it's sposed to go all electric on the highway, though it does have cvt for in town. But anyway, the HCH has the tallest tranny right now for civics, and the 5th is even taller than the 5th for the gas model, so I think that it'll prolly be more like 45/45.