I was recently in the market for a new mid-sized sedan and wanted to get a good idea of what the Camry, Accord, and Altima actually got in real world driving. One thing I noticed was that after clicking on a vehicle (Camry and Accord particularly) people had incorrectly lumped their hybrids into the non-hybrid category. This screws everybody up because now I can't look at the vehicle class and see what mpg the car is getting. There should be a way to report a vehicle/user as being in a wrong category so that action can be taken (forcibly if necessary) to move the vehicle into the proper category. After all, this is about keeping data right. I've been telling everybody I know about this site and its usefulness in determining real-world mpg. If the data is wrong, what good is it to anybody?
I think the users' data shows that 30+ is definitely achievable. Keep in mind advancements in technology can improve both mpg and performance and in at least some cases ends up being a wash. Especially when you combine governmental regulations and interferences that hurt efficiencies. Bottom line and the point to this post though is that there needs to be a way to point out to users and/or Fuelly.com that a vehicle is in a wrong category. Without a system of checks and balances, what good is this site?
Very odd? I had very little trouble searching like vehicles with different options: 6cyl, 4 cyl, gas, diesel, hybrid etc. There seem to be those that classify their vehicle wrong, but "research vehicles" link is very helpful.
What you will not, and cannot see is how each individual drives specific to road, weather, and driver conditions. Still, it's a great tool to get a base line. I can tell you this without exception: ANY epa estimate, for any vehicle, can be surpassed if driven in even a light hypermile type attitude.
@bowtieguy: When you click "research vehicles" you get an Average MPG. That figures in EVERY user's vehicle in that category. If a hybrid Camry getting 41mpg is figured in with all of the other regular 4 cyl Camry's that are getting 25 mpg, then it skews the Average MPG of the class.
Of course you can look at the individual users and cars and make some assumptions, but isn't that the point of applying the law of averages? If you average EVERY vehicle in the class then you can be reasonable sure that with moderate to conservative driving you can get to or above the average mpg number.
But then again, that's not even the point. Why have a separate category for Hybrid Camry if you don't expect people to use it? And if they don't use it properly, why not allow for corrections to be made? If this site isn't going to be used for the pretty cool tool that it is, then what's the point? We should all just use Facebook.
Also, on the EPA note. I would tend to agree with you but I have been driving this Altima for about a month now and while I'm definitely impressed with the mileage, I cannot get to the 38 mpg number (although I'm at 37.8 right now). I drive extremely conservative, including coasting vs braking and absolutely never go above 70 mph. The EPA estimates, if achievable must be for highway driving at non-highway speeds. There's no other way that you're going to get over 38 mpg hwy in this car.
If you wanted an economical sedan, did you not consider a german TDI? I appreciate there are not as many diesels available on the US market, but there are some very powerful yet economical diesels out there from the likes of Mercedes, VW and Audi as well as others.
Not sure if you can see this page as it's a UK website, but the new A-class diesel does almost 90 MPG (probably closer to 70 MPG in everyday conditions)
I drive extremely conservative, including coasting vs braking and absolutely never go above 70 mph. The EPA estimates, if achievable must be for highway driving at non-highway speeds. There's no other way that you're going to get over 38 mpg hwy in this car.
You've named some of the variables in play but there are dozens, hundreds, or thousands of others, most of which cannot be controlled. It is unrealistic to say that because you can't exceed 38 given those conditions, nobody can given the same specified conditions.
Here are a few variables that come immediately to my mind that can make big differences:
1. Your Altima is brand new. As it breaks in, it could see some major improvement.
2. Fuel quality could be bad where you are.
3. Road quality could be bad where you are. There could be beat-up pavement, or there could be good pavement that produces lots of rolling resistance.
4. Weather and traffic can have major effects on fuel economy. Weather's effect can vary greatly by vehicle, too.
5. You've only had 4 tanks in which to learn how to drive your specific car efficiently. You've mentioned a couple details that are important, but it takes a lot more than 4 tanks to learn whether your car is more efficient at 75 or 60, with faster or slower acceleration, etc. It won't necessarily be efficient driven the same way that squeezed the best efficiency out of your last car.
Those are just the first few that popped into my head.
At that second link, click each tab, especially "detailed comparison".
They reach a maximum speed of 80mph but their average speed is very low. They do not do long-distance continuous steady-speed driving.
All that is not to say that the manufacturers don't sometimes fudge the tests. The EPA doesn't do the testing, they just specify how the manufacturer is to do it and spot-check a few every year.
...and getting back to the original topic, I agree with you that there ought to be an easy way to report wrong-category vehicles and other such issues. Perhaps site developers can add that to their to-do list. In the meantime, I've created a thread where you can report things like that: http://www.fuelly.com/forums/showthread.php?t=16126
Whoa, that's a nice Benz! Hopefully we'll get some of that in the USA with time. I read recently that the average fleet MPG in the USA is only around 25 right not (CAFE laws require fleet averages to increase to 54.5 by 2025). In Europe the fleet averages are already 45 mpg!
As to the original post, In the past the categorization process was very hands off system but as you pointed out, users sometimes categorized them incorrectly. We will be working to make sure all vehicles are properly categorized in the near future once we switch over to a new backend platform scheduled to happen in a few weeks. Once we are on that platform our goal will be to make sure the data is as clean as possible which means classifications of vehicles by year, make, model, engine and transmission and to identify issues with users submitted data such as when a user accidentally skips a fuel-up and doesn't mark it as skipped and their MPG shows twice as high as it should be. We also plan to show averages from all fuel-ups of similar vehicles along with the average across all vehicles and use statistical analysis as well as just plain averages (ie. mean & standard deviations). We'll be able to do a lot more once we are on the new system.