EPA fuel economy ratings are getting a bad rap these days. Manufacturer promises are falling short. Even the fuel economy as reported by your own vehicle has proven to be about five percent too optimistic on average. So how can you find out the actual miles per gallon numbers for your car or truck?
It is hard to make educated decisions with bad information. If you merely have window stickers and exaggerated estimates to go off of, then how can you really prove that your fleet is saving the money that you think it should? With the price of new vehicles steadily climbing it is important that you justify a purchase with the payback from better fuel mileage. Here are some suggestions that will help you sort through the fluff and find real, actionable data.
Odometer readings and some quick math can help you find the truth. Incorporating fuel cards (with required mileage entry) and a fleet management system that integrates with that data can help streamline the process. When purchases are imported into your software, MPG calculations and cost/mile updates should happen automatically. Just be sure to emphasize to your vehicle operators that the odometer reading should be accurate at the time of fill-up.
There are also a number of online resources that have more realistic mpg ratings listed. Crowdsourced figures like these are going to be much more usable when benchmarking your fleet’s performance numbers. Edmunds.com, along with several other mainstream automotive sites, will regularly post road tests with accurate fuel economy numbers, so feel free to do a quick search. If your company tends to purchase many of the same make/model, then use your fleet software and historical data to target underperforming vehicles.
If you have the time, Car and Driver put together an extensive article on how the EPA estimates fuel economy. You can quickly see how your fleet could be reporting averages that are way off of their estimates.