Ford talking to gov't about hybrids' fuel economy

Ford said Friday that it is talking to the government about the fuel economy of its hybrid cars after a report suggested they are falling short of targets.

Consumer Reports said last week that Ford's new C-Max hybrid didn't meet the published fuel economy of 47 miles per gallon (5 liters per 100 kilometers), averaging 38 mpg (6.2 liters per 100 kms) in the magazine's testing. Other hybrids—including the and V—have also fallen short in the magazine's tests.

Ford said it followed the 's guidelines when it set its . But the EPA's tests don't exactly mimic real-world driving, Ford's global vehicle development chief Raj Nair said.

For instance, Nair said driving a hybrid car 75 miles per hour (120 kms/hour), instead of 65 miles per hour (104 kms/hour), can cost the driver seven miles per gallon. Hot or can also affect the numbers.

Nair said Ford is talking to the EPA to see if the agency needs to change the way it tests hybrids.

Fuel economy dominated the conversation Friday as Ford introduced two new commercial vehicles that will go on sale late next year.

The Transit, which will eventually replace Ford's E-Series vans, will haul 300 pounds (136 kilograms) more than the current E-Series and has twice the volume. Ford will offer three engine choices and three roof heights.

The company also unveiled a smaller Transit Connect commercial vehicle, which is getting its first big makeover since it went on sale in Europe a decade ago.

The new Transit Connect can tow up to 2,000 pounds (907 kilograms ) for the first time. It comes in short and long versions. Ford will also offer an optional EcoBoost engine in the Transit Connect that is expected to get more than 30 miles per gallon (7.8 liters per 100 kms).

Ford didn't release prices or final fuel economy numbers for the vans.

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User comments

Dec 15, 2012
I'll admit that I average under 70 MPH in my 2010 Ford Fusion hybrid highway driving but I do get over 42 MPG highway. Just how many places is 75 MPH legal or within 5 MPH? Not in the Northeast where we don't have enough 65 MPH highways.

Dec 15, 2012
There's a reason President Carter lowered the speed limit to 55 MPH.

Dec 15, 2012
75 is quite common west of the Mississippi. In general though, the closer one is to urban centers the lower the maximum speed limit is.
Highways in and immediately surrounding Los Angeles, for instance, have 55-65 mph limits. Get 40-50 miles or so away and they increase to 75- I10 and I15 for example.

Dec 15, 2012
There's a reason President Carter lowered the speed limit to 55 MPH.
That was actually enacted under Nixon.

Dec 15, 2012
19% under the EPA rating is very consistent with other gasoline vehicles. Diesels, on the other hand, tend to do around 18% better than the EPA ratings.

Dec 16, 2012
I get a steady 38-40 mpg w/2000 Echo 1.5 liter by driving sensibly, but since Ford is advertising to idiots who think they can go fast with no penalty, they should say so. Variable cam timing is so cool. So is light weight.

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