Edmunds.com Recommends Practical Adjustment to Window Stickers

Edmunds.com Recommends Practical Adjustment to Window Stickers


Edmunds.com Recommends Practical Adjustment to Window Stickers

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — (November 23, 2009) — Edmunds.com, the premier online resource for automotive consumer information, submitted a recommendation to make new car window stickers more useful to car shoppers by highlighting usage costs rather than miles per gallon numbers.

The recommendation was submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy and available for viewing at http://www.edmunds.com/industry-car-news/monthly-fuel-cost-letter.html.

Window stickers currently display "miles per gallon" ratings, undeniably useful for consumers looking to compare vehicle choices. However, for an increasing number of vehicles, gallons of gasoline are not being consumed. Under current proposals, all-electric vehicles and other alternative fuel vehicles are expected to be given "MPG-equivalent" ratings generated by complex algorithms that attempt to translate other forms of energy into a comparable measurement.

"Consumers have used the existing MPG ratings primarily to get a sense of the relative cost of operating a vehicle on a day-to-day basis," Edmunds.com CEO Jeremy Anwyl told GreenCarAdvisor.com. "However, using energy equivalents can easily cause consumers to draw erroneous conclusions. For example, a new Toyota Prius earns 50 MPG. General Motors is reporting that its new Chevy Volt will possibly be rated at 230 MPG-equivalent. From this consumers could reasonably assume the Prius is more than four times more costly to operate than the Volt. But that would be wrong."

The chart below sets forth the projected monthly fuel costs for a variety of vehicles.

    EPA rating Monthly Fuel Cost
2009 Mini E electric 99 mpge $49.39
2010 Toyota Prius parallel hybrid 50 mpg $66.78
2009 Toyota Prius parallel hybrid 46 mpg $72.58
2009 Honda Civic GX CNG 28 mpge $77.23
2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid parallel hybrid 39 mpg $85.61
2010 Jetta TDI diesel 34 mpg $103.38
2010 Ford Focus gasoline 28 mpg $119.24
2010 Honda Accord I-4 gasoline 25 mpg $133.55
2009 Chevy HHR Flex Fuel on gasoline 25 mpg $133.55
on E85 18 mpg $152.22
2010 Chevrolet Silverado 5.3 V8 Flex Fuel on gasoline 17 mpg $196.40
on E85 13 mpg $210.77
2010 Chevy Volt series plug-in hybrid 230 mpge $53.55

"Looking at this analysis we find that electric vehicles do enjoy a cost advantage over their counterparts powered with other technologies — but this advantage is nowhere near as great as the proposed EPA ratings would imply," noted Anwyl.

The EPA already provides "annual usage costs" data on window stickers, and makes the required assumptions necessary to do so. Edmunds.com suggests that consumers will benefit if the window stickers simply highlighted these amounts instead of the MPG numbers. And when using EPA figures in marketing, automakers should be required to use EPA-provided monthly cost estimates.

While this proposal is being considered, Edmunds.com is providing a list of monthly fuel costs for all 2009 and 2010 model year vehicles so that shoppers can make realistic comparisons today (at http://www.edmunds.com/industry-car-news/fuel-mileage-equivalency.html). To produce this list, Edmunds.com's statisticians used data and assumptions that mirror those used in Edmunds.com's True Cost to Own® tool.

About Edmunds (http://www.edmunds.com/about/)
Edmunds publishes four Web sites that empower, engage and educate automotive consumers, enthusiasts and insiders. Edmunds.com, the premier online resource for automotive consumer information, launched in 1995 as the first automotive information Web site. Its most popular feature, the Edmunds.com True Market Value®, is relied upon by millions of people seeking current transaction prices for new and used vehicles. Edmunds.com was named "Best Car Research Site" by Forbes ASAP, has been selected by consumers as the "Most Useful Web Site" according to every J.D. Power and Associates New Autoshopper.com Study(SM), was ranked first in the Survey of Car-Shopping Web Sites by The Wall Street Journal and was rated "#1" in Keynote's study of third-party automotive Web sites. Inside Line launched in 2005 and is the most-read automotive enthusiast Web site. CarSpace launched in 2006 and is an automotive social networking Web site and home to the oldest and most established automotive community. AutoObserver.com launched in 2007 and provides insightful automotive industry commentary and analysis. Edmunds is headquartered in Santa Monica, California, and maintains a satellite office in suburban Detroit.

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