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AAA: Diesels better, turbo sixes worse than estimates?

by David Zatz on

The American Automobile Association, or AAA, wrote that diesels, such as those used in Ram pickups may get better fuel economy than the EPA estimates. With current test techniques, indeed, most vehicles they tested get better mileage than expected — the major exception being turbocharged six-cylinders in Ford pickups. [Original story]

Ram fuel economy vs Ford F-150

The AAA tests may be somewhat flawed, since it relies on self-reported data from 37,000 surveys. They found that diesels provided 20% higher economy than EPA ratings, sedans with V6 engines were 9% better, and manual-transmission cars were 17% higher. Minivan mileage was roughly similar.

Most of the vehicles that did not achieve EPA ratings have been retested by the EPA and some mileage ratings were revised. AAA tested a small number of vehicles itself and confirmed EPA ratings in real-life conditions, concluding that driving habits were a primary issue — as the EPA has written.

Note: the chart above shows 2014 model-year figures. For 2015, the Ford numbers are identical but the Ram 1500 HFE diesel now reaches 21 city, 29 highway, for a combined 24 mpg. 

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