- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 11, 2006

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Consumers may be in for a different kind of sticker shock starting with 2008 model cars, trucks and sport utility vehicles.

Fuel economy ratings on the stickers of new models would drop an average of 10 percent to 20 percent in city driving for most 2008 models, and 5 percent to 15 percent in highway driving, under testing changes the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed Tuesday.

Gas-electric hybrids will be more affected, with ratings for city driving decreasing an average of 20 percent to 30 percent. Those models are expected to appear in showrooms in the fall of 2007.

EPA’s new fuel economy estimates will include vehicle-specific data from tests designed to reflect more accurately high-speed driving, rapid acceleration, use of air conditioning and cold temperatures, the agency said.

EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson said the agency intends “to empower consumers with the most accurate information possible about a vehicle’s fuel economy,” including more details about the effects of “power-hungry accessories” used to lower windows, adjust seats, even play DVDs while driving.

“They can be confident those estimates more closely reflect real-world conditions,” Mr. Johnson said.

Congress ordered the changes in its energy bill last year.

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