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EPA And Hybrid Car Ratings: What You Need To Know

Apr 25, 2008
When it comes to hybrid cars, they're probably the highest selling items in the car industry today. It's only expected, though, considering the ratings that the EPA or the Environmental Agency are giving them. Charged with protecting and safeguarding the natural environment, it's the EPA's ratings that really matter when it comes to choosing the right hybrid vehicle to buy.

What It's All About?

You might be asking what the EPA has to do with it at all. Most hybrids these days that are for sale to the general public have to have an EPA rating and it is this rating that will tell a consumer just how much fuel is saved when it comes to a hybrid's mileage.

These ratings are usually translated by the consumer into fuel efficiency and thus monetary savings. But more important than that, the EPA determines which cars are the most fuel-efficient, which ones have the least amount of carbon monoxide emissions, and therefore which ones are the fittest for the environment in general. Of course, this does not mean that gas-powered cars are not allowed on the road. Basically, the EPA ratings on hybrids help consumers make the right choice in car purchases.

But What Is It Really All About?

The EPA ratings system has always been around. In fact, at some point the ratings had to change with the introduction of hybrid cars. The EPA has mandatory fuel-economy tests that have to be carried out on all cars, old and new, sold in the United States.

15% of all cars have undergone these tests. One of these tests is on fuel economy which involves city and highway cycles to see the result on what kind of usage cars have when it comes to fuel consumption. For the year 2008, these tests have changed in many ways and the EPA has revised testing methods because of the introduction of hybrid cars.

Hybrid car ratings are now calculated using a dynamometer and these results will be shown on labels that will be attached to the vehicles to show what fuel economy estimates there are per model. These ratings make it easier for the consumer to pick the most fuel-efficient hybrid car.

It's no secret that its being fuel-efficient has made the hybrid car the most popular land vehicle these days. But fuel efficiency is a different story with all the model cars that are coming out of the assembly line from various car manufacturers. Some of the most fuel efficient includes the Ford Focus with an EPA rating of 24 miles in the city/35 miles on the highway to the gallon, the Honda Fit with a rating of 33 miles in the city/38 miles on the highway, and the Honda Civic with 30 miles in the city/38 miles on the highway. And these ratings are more different if those cars are automatics.

These ratings are essential to consumers if they are to make informed decisions. It's these easy ratings that help consumers make the right choice, helping them to pick cars that suit their lifestyles. It is exactly why the EPA conducts its tests and comes up with hybrid car ratings, which is fitting since more people are now making the switch to the hybrid car.
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