not so, smart

Some responses to my last post recommending looking at a smart fortwo.  from smart’s web page:

What is the gas mileage of smart?

Engineering and testing continues to take place on the vehicle that will be produced for the United States. The vehicle is designed to achieve 40 city/45 highway mpg according to 2007 EPA standards and 33 city/41 highway mpg according to 2008 EPA standards. The mpg rating for all vehicles will decrease in 2008 due to new calculation methods that the EPA has adopted.

So the mileage is barely better than a Mini, which is a real car and a blast to drive and gets 28/37 mpg (2009 model).

And what’s the deal with mpg standards changing to decrease EPA stated values?  I mean, if congress passed that 35 mpg law last year (did they? or did it get vetoed?) this means that it’s now going to be that much more improbable that automakers to reach the threshold.  I mean, the city mpg for the smart decreased by over 17% when they used the new measures…

I’m doing my part

I used to get about 360 miles out of a 15.5 gallon fill up.  My onboard computer would report 23.5 mpg.  I used to think that was pretty good, as it was combined city/highway driving (about 80% highway) and the EPA mpg estimates for this car was only 16/24.  So I was at the top end of the spectrum, right?

I remember not so long ago when I cut the speed back a little bit and got 400 miles out of a single fill-up.  I actually took a picture of the tripometer with my phone to capture the occasion (also because I rolled into the gas station with the remaining range reading “0” miles*).  That was a little under 26 mpg.

The last three fill-ups, I’ve kept it over 29 mpg, flirting with 30 mpg.  I now roll past 400 miles and the Range reports 70 more miles.  Unfortunately, the estimates are a bit aggressive, but it was really cool to hit 450 miles the other day.

The extra five or six miles per gallon is 20-25% improvement, resulting in $650 in savings per year on my 20,000 miles of commute.  I’m sorry, I just will not drive a Prius — this is me doing my part.

The secret?  Hypermiling.

* yes, I’ve gone past zero/0… it reads “—“

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3 Comments

Filed under energy policy

3 responses to “not so, smart

  1. EPA ratings are decreasing because the EPA is finally making the method for determining the mileage rating more accurate.
    The old ratings were determined at much lower speeds than most people actually drive (please don’t quote me, but I think the old ratings were based on an average speed of 45 mph). The ratings will go down, yes, but they will be more realistic.
    They have been talking about this for a few years now, but the phalanx that is our Federal government doesn’t change direction easily or swiftly.

  2. my point is, by my example above, EPA estimates can be inaccurate in the other direction as well — I get 25% better mileage than their highest highway mileage for my car…

    mandating performance of consumer products (which is why the EPA is involved at all — to impose gas-guzzler taxes and enforce CAFE standards) just seems so anti-market — let people choose the cars they desire, and let car manufacturers and independent auditors –oh, and consumers — evaluate mileage. it’s not rocket science.

  3. Rob

    ‘let people choose the cars they desire, and let car manufacturers and independent auditors –oh, and consumers — evaluate mileage’

    There was a great editorial in I think it was Car & Driver, about five or six months ago that eluded to this… and it stated the obvious, $4 per gallon has done more to shape the automotive landscape than CAFE has done since its inception.

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