The EPA has changed the way it calculates mileage in vehicles in America. The result? Some pretty drastic changes.
Mileage for the Prius has dropped from 60/51 mpg city/hwy all the way to 48/45 mpg while the Honda Civic hybrid dropped from 49/51 mpg to 40/45. The change reflects the difference in testing environments, of course, but Sam Abuelsamid at AutoBlogGreen reports that there could be another reason there was such a significant drop.
Hybrid cars can be tuned to perform well in specific environments. They are largely computer controlled, and how the hybrid drive train operates is up to the engineers that create the car. Abuelsamid speculates that engineers at Honda and Toyota tweaked the computer control specifically for the EPA test. The result was inflated mileage and decreased real-world efficiency.
Seems more like something American automakers would do? Apparently not, the Ford Escape Hybrid only dropped from 36/31 to 31/29.