Ford is lowering EPA fuel economy ratings for six 2013 and 2014 models, five of which are hybrids including the Ford C-Max Hybrid, the Ford Fusion Hybrid, and the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid. To make up for the inflated mpg ratings, Ford will offer between $125 and $1050 in compensation to owners and lessees of these more than 200,000 affected vehicles, depending on the severity of the drop in the combined mpg rating.
Since all automakers test fuel economy internally in order to submit estimates to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the mistake was related to an error in Ford’s own testing, specifically centered on a variable called Total Road Load Horsepower (TRLHP). This metric is used to calculate certain resistance factors for lab testing in order to replicate real-world variables like wind resistance and road resistance, and Ford’s issue was that wind tunnel testing results were incorrectly factored into the TRLHP model. In other words, Ford underestimated real-world factors and how they would affect fuel economy testing.
In March, Ford engineers reported the problem to the EPA, who then worked with Ford to test the automaker’s entire lineup under the correct process in order to determine which models were affected by this mistake. Ford vice president of global production development Raj Nair said that hybrids were more significantly affected by the testing issue because their fuel economy numbers are more sensitive to the TRLHP factor in testing. The EPA will not fine Ford for misstating its fuel economy.
The vehicle with the most significant fuel economy drop is the 2013-2014 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, which sees its ratings fall by 7 mpg city, 8 mpg highway, and 7 mpg combined to a revised rating of 38/37/38 mpg city/highway/combined. Lincoln MKZ Hybrid owners will be compensated $1050 for in accordance with the 7 mpg drop in the combined rating, and MKZ Hybrid lessees will receive $625 in compensation. The related 2013-2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid also drops down to ratings of 44/41/42 mpg city/highway/combined (from 47 mpg across the board), with owners receiving $775 and lessees receiving $450.
This mileage update means that the 2013-2014 Ford C-Max Hybrid is being re-rated for the second time, as Ford previously lowered the Ford C-Max Hybrid’s EPA ratings last August because of a loophole with EPA testing that allowed it to be rated the same as the Ford Fusion Hybrid. This model goes from 45/40/43 mpg city/highway/combined to 42/37/40 mpg city/highway combined—when it originally debuted, the 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid was rated at 47/47/47 mpg city/highway/combined.
Ford’s two plug-in hybrid models, the Ford Fusion Energi and Ford C-Max Energi, also receive revised mpg and MPGe ratings. Both of these models go from previous ratings 43 mpg combined and 100 MPGe combined, down to 38 mpg and 88 MPGe combined. MPGe is a figure that represents a miles-per-gallon equivalent when the vehicle is traveling on electric power alone. Both these vehicles also lose two miles from the estimated EPA EV range, going from 21 miles to 19 miles of estimated electric-only range on a full battery charge.
The only non-hybrid Ford vehicle affected by this change is the 2014 Ford Fiesta, which sees mpg ratings fall for both its standard 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine and the optional 1.0-liter EcoBoost three-cylinder engine. 1.6L models with the automatic transmission lose 2 mpg city and highway and 1 mpg combined, 1.6L automatic models with the SFE package lose 3 mpg on the highway, 2 mpg in the city, and 2 mpg combined, and 1.6L manual models lose 2 mpg on the highway and actually gain 1 mpg in the city. The new 2014 Ford Fiesta 1.0L EcoBoost also loses 2 mpg highway, 1 mpg city, and 1 mpg combined for new ratings of 31/43/36 mpg city/highway/combined.
See the chart below for the full information on revised mpg ratings and compensation amounts by model.
|U.S. EPA-Estimated Fuel Economy Label Ratings and Goodwill Payments*|
|Model Year||Vehicle||Powertrain||Revised (City, Highway, Combined)||Previous (City, Highway, Combined)||Lease Customers||Purchase Customers|
|2014||Fiesta||1.0L GTDI M/T||31 / 43 / 36||32 / 45 / 37||$125||$200|
|2014||Fiesta||1.6L A/T||27 / 37 / 31||29 / 39 / 32||$150||$250|
|2014||Fiesta||1.6L SFE A/T||28 / 38 / 32||30 / 41 / 34||$275||$450|
|2014||Fiesta||1.6L M/T||28 / 36 / 31||27 / 38 / 31||Combined MPG not affected||Combined MPG not affected|
|2013-14||C-MAX||Hybrid||42 / 37 / 40||45 / 40 /43||$300||$475|
|2013-14||Fusion||Hybrid||44 / 41 / 42||47 / 47 /47||$450||$775|
|2013-14||MKZ||Hybrid||38 / 37 / 38||45/ 45 /45||$625||$1,050|
|Model Year||Vehicle||Powertrain||Revised** (Charge Sustaining, Charge Depleting, EV Range)||Previous** (Charge Sustaining, Charge Depleting, EV Range)||Lease Customers||Purchase Customers|
|2013-14||C-MAX Energi||Plug-in Hybrid||38 mpg / 88 MPGe+||43 mpg / 100 MPGe+||$475||$775|
|2013-14||C-MAX Energi||Plug-in Hybrid||19 mi EV range||21 mi EV range||$475||$775|
|2013-14||Fusion Energi||Plug-in Hybrid||38 mpg / 88 MPGe+||43 mpg / 100 MPGe+||$525||$850|
|2013-14||Fusion Energi||Plug-in Hybrid||19 mi EV range||21 mi EV range||$525||$850|
|*Bolded figures in the above chart represent the values used to determine the customer goodwill payment.|
|** Combined numbers only. Revised EPA-estimated ratings: 40 city, 36 highway MPG; 95 city, 81 highway MPGe. Charge depleting range is 20 mi. Previous EPA-estimated ratings: 44 city, 41 highway MPG; 108 city, 92 hwy MPGe. Previous charge depleting range was 21.|
|+MPGe is the EPA equivalent measure of gasoline fuel efficiency for electric mode operation.|