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Canada upgrades economy tests

by David Zatz on

Canada has updated its fuel economy tests to reflect changing times, resulting in lower gas mileage estimates for most cars — sometimes dramatically lower estimates. The Cherokee Limited 4×4, for example, has gone from 9.9 city, 6.4 highway (in l/100km) to 11.1 city, 7.4 highway (or from 24/37 to 21/32 US mpg).


The old system had a city test and a highway test; temperatures ranged from 20°-30°C in both. The city test took 31 minutes, with vehicles driving  18 km (11 miles) from a cold start, at an average of 34 km/h (21 mph) and maximum acceleration of 5.3 km/h/second (3.3 mph/s). The test had 23 tops and cars spent 18% of their time idle. The highway test was similar, but the engine was started warm, the test was under 13 minutes, with a top speed of 97 km/h (60 mph), average speed of 78 (48), and slightly slower peak acceleration. There were no stops in the highway test, providing just about the best possible fuel economy figures.

Canada’s new system has the same easygoing city and highway tests, but adds:

  • Cold temperature test: cell temperature is dropped to -7°C, and is otherwise the same as the regular city test.
  • Air conditioning test: cell temperature is raised to 35°C, and climate control is used. It is similar to the city test but is only 10 minutes long, covering 6 km, with five stops.
  • Speed test: this is similar to the old highway test, but includes four stops with idling 7% of the total time; it is only ten minutes long and covers 13 km, but the stop speed is now 129 km/h (80 mph) and acceleration peaks at 13.6 km/h/second (8.5 mph/s).

The “high speed/quick acceleration” test appears to resemble typical Toronto-area driving fairly closely, while the traditional highway test may be appropriate for winding two-lane back roads.

The United States updated its testing processes in 2008 to be more realistic for a wider variety of people.

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