When Hyundai and Kia had to issue a public apology for inflated EPA figures for most of its cars and subsequently revise the EPA stickers, many industry watchers believed the Korean brands would not be the last to come under critical and governmental scrutiny for their fuel economy claims. Sure enough, questions about real-world fuel economy numbers are coming up once again in the context of hybrids.
Although the EPA issues guidelines for fuel economy testing, the agency itself does not test each and every new vehicle, relying on self-reporting from the manufacturers for the majority of fuel economy data. Ford is wasting little time being proactive in its approach to fuel economy testing. Bloomberg is reporting that Ford is in talks with the Environmental Protection Agency about test procedures, specifically in regard to hybrid vehicles, following Consumer Reports saying that two of company's newest hybrids, the Ford Fusion Hybrid and C-Max, fell well short of the claimed 47 mpg combined fuel economy during the publication's testing and evaluation.
Ford claims that hybrids are more sensitive to driving style than conventional vehicles, and that the company's choice to give its models more powerful engines to retain a fun-to-drive feel can result in lower real-world mileage for aggressive drivers.