kscarbel2 Posted September 23, 2017 Share Posted September 23, 2017 Automotive News / September 22, 2017 WASHINGTON -- Consumers Union is lobbying Congress to require public disclosure of fuel economy estimates for heavy-duty pickups so buyers can make more informed choices, after its tests found diesel-powered trucks underperformed gasoline-powered trucks. Automakers are required to post window stickers on new light-duty vehicles showing estimated fuel economy, but there is no such mandate for trucks with gross vehicle weights exceeding 8,500 pounds. The latest issue of the public interest group's magazine, Consumer Reports, includes a report about tests it conducted on four popular heavy-duty pickups: the Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD, Ford F-250, Ram 2500 and Nissan Titan XD. The tests found that the greater efficiency of their diesel engines does not make up for the extra weight they carry. The heavy-duty trucks achieved 14 to 15 mpg, or about 1 to 2 mpg less than their gasoline-powered light-duty counterparts. Different tests But it is challenging to evaluate the claims in a comparative way because Consumer Reports' test protocols differ from those of the EPA, including types of gasoline and driving methods. Plus, there are no government fuel-economy standards for heavy-duty pickups to meet as there are for light vehicles. Most diesel-powered heavy-duty trucks are sold to consumers who use them for towing and hauling heavy loads. Under those conditions, diesel engines are generally more fuel efficient than gasoline-powered trucks. The EPA enforces emissions standards for heavy-duty pickups, but compensates for the difference in usage from passenger vehicles by including a work factor for the payload. And the work factor varies for each model. Letter to leaders Consumers Union sent a letter to Senate and House committee leaders on Sept. 20 requesting that they authorize and appropriate funds to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the EPA to make information on fuel economy, emissions and the expected average fuel costs available to the public. "Based on new data from testing at Consumer Reports, these heavy-duty diesel pickups cost about $35,000 to fuel over the first 15 years of the vehicles' lives. Further, they can cost $7,000 to $10,000 more to fuel than their light-duty gasoline counterparts over that same time," said David Friedman, director of cars and product policy and analysis at Consumers Union. "Without information like this, consumers are powerless to make informed decisions when shopping for these vehicles for their businesses or family." Friedman, who resigned as NHTSA's deputy administrator in July 2015 after two years at the agency, said the EPA has the raw fuel economy data on heavy-duty pickups in the form of gallons per ton mile -- one ton of cargo transported one mile -- as provided to the agency by automakers, so making the data available to the public would require a minimum of extra effort. The group said the fuel economy data should be published on the government website fueleconomy.gov and eventually publicized via a window label on new vehicles. But the EPA's fuel-economy data on heavy-duty trucks is less comprehensive than the more robust tests required of light-duty vehicles. "Everyone knows that the certification tests are pretty gentle and there's a gap between real-world use," Friedman said in an interview. "So, if, and when, they put out certification numbers, they will probably overestimate fuel economy. But we believe consumers are better off with some data than no data." Consumers Union said funding is needed because NHTSA and the EPA lack the resources and staff needed to get the project off the ground. Rules review The group's request comes as the Trump administration considers whether to loosen fuel economy mandates -- known as the corporate average fuel economy rules -- for cars and light-duty trucks in the 2022-25 model years. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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