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Real World Fuel Econ vs EPA Sticker

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http://www.autoblog.com/2015/06/17/aaa-study-real-world-fuel-economy/

 

I thought this was a pretty interesting article pointing out where the current test procedures seem to fall short. Most of us are well aware of some of the points being made, but it's nice to have some hard statistics on the matter to back up what we've known.

 

A few key points of discussion:

 

-Diesel owners reported 20-percent higher fuel economy than EPA ratings. 

 

-Owners with cars equipped with manual transmissions enjoyed 17-percent higher real-world results.

 

-Owners of turbocharged V6 engines reported fuel economy 9-percent lower than estimates, and owners of turbocharged four-cylinder engines reported fuel economy that was 4-percent lower than expected.

 

"If you just think about how those cars drive, a diesel has a ton of torque down low, so small throttle changes will get an immediate response," Nielsen told Autoblog. "And a turbo, conversely, does need to spool up. I can't help but wonder what role driving habits play in that."

 

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Alright, then I'll start things off.

 

I'm tired of arguing with people that the automatics Americans are so obsessed with are "more fuel efficient now" than manual transmissions. It's false, the EPA tests are biased against them somehow, maybe manufacturers are tuning autos for the test parameters, which would explain the poor drivability from factory but I wont get into that. I've been loosely following user submitted fuel economy of manuals vs automatics on a number of compact cars and despite sometimes WORSE fuel economy ratings, the stick shifts are significantly more efficient than their automatic counterparts.

 

This article cites an average 17% advantage over EPA ratings when shifting yourself. On a compact car rated 30 mpg combined, 17% means it's 5 mpg under-rated on the window sticker. FIVE MILES PER GALLON.

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Alright, then I'll start things off.

 

I'm tired of arguing with people that the automatics Americans are so obsessed with are "more fuel efficient now" than manual transmissions. It's false, the EPA tests are biased against them somehow, maybe manufacturers are tuning autos for the test parameters, which would explain the poor drivability from factory but I wont get into that. I've been loosely following user submitted fuel economy of manuals vs automatics on a number of compact cars and despite sometimes WORSE fuel economy ratings, the stick shifts are significantly more efficient than their automatic counterparts.

 

This article cites an average 17% advantage over EPA ratings when shifting yourself. On a compact car rated 30 mpg combined, 17% means it's 5 mpg under-rated on the window sticker. FIVE MILES PER GALLON.

Yet you do not comment on one very IMPORTANT Fact! Most people are terrible at driving manual transmissions. I know for a fact. While I required both my son and daughter to learn and drive in Highschool a Manual Pickup truck. This limited having to many people due to it being a standard cab so 3 tight, but really only 2 people drive and 1 passenger plus their bags, books etc.

 

My son is a terrible driver and never could get the feel for shifting compared to my daughter who would get EPA rated MPG on the Manual, My son always got 10-15% less or more depending on highway versus city driving. My wife and I could always exceed EPA MPG.

 

The reason I believe Automatics do better for people is most people do not want to have to think about how they drive, the sweet spot for shifting and dealing with a clutch plus break and gas. Add hills and people fear the roll back and freak out. Manuals have their place but in limited applications due to human nature.

 

Consumer Pickup trucks should just stay automatic as it would be best for everyone as is most auto's. Performance and econobox auto's can have a manual option but I still believe most people will go with an automatic.

 

I am not saying your wrong about Manual being better than automatic, but the electronics today are faster than human response time and I think it does end up with most automatic auto's out performing manual transmission auto's.

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You keep saying "people" are bad at driving manuals and "people" don't want to think about how they drive, but that's an American problem. Just like Americans are known for obesity. Manuals are preferred in Europe, with automatics relegated to people that physically can't like the elderly and disabled. I believe the roads would be safer if everyone under 21 drove manual transmissions because it keeps the youngest and dumbest drivers off their smart phones.

 

However that's all off-topic. The point is that the EPA test procedure fails to rate certain drivetrains appropriately, and my personal beef is with manual transmissions getting significantly under-rated. Automatics are still not as efficient as manual transmissions, and consumers are becoming increasingly misinformed as it is.

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the lowest i've gotten with my mazda 6 is ~29...in winter with ~291 miles on the tank and 190 of those is the trip from my hometown to MT vernon IL... which sometimes i can get ~43mpg one way in nice weather.

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I'm getting pretty decent mileage outta my EcoDiesel so far... Bit over 1000km and last I checked it was at 10.4L/100km combined. By way of reference my Hemi was getting more like 16.

Turbocharged V6 engines failing to meet listed mileage estimates?... Sounds like another EcoBoost thread's a brewing... :P

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I would love to see the data and learn of the driving habits of those who claim such gains driving a stick.  I honestly don’t know how you can do any better than putting it in gear and just driving normal.  And regardless, the data we see today means relative comparisons between 5 and 6 speed automatics vs same manual gear counts.  What happens then when 9 and 10 speeds start proliferating, combined with more effective engine shutoff technology that is right around the corner that makes them virtually seamless.  Wait, I know the answer, the automatic transmission will leap frog manuals in fuel economy, and certainly in performance too, that is not even mentioned here.

 

And it’s good to know that some Diesel owners do better than rated mpg, although I still doubt that even with the gains, they will still not break even from huge front loaded purchase cost to fuel cost savings over comparable gas engines.  Engines that actually give you some performance as well.

Edited by Wings4Life

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People want what they want. The savings at the pump don't have to overcome any theoretical price disadvantage if the retained value is also higher. In any event, in my neck of the woods diesel is 25 percent cheaper than the mid grade I used in my Longhorn (yes, I am that particular about following the recommended fuel guidelines). I literally cut my fuel bill in half. I have little doubt I will be recouping the added cost.

Besides, EB doesn't deliver the claimed FE in pickups. You're better off with a Hemi or a smallblock. At least you get a proper eight-speed.

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I would love to see the data and learn of the driving habits of those who claim such gains driving a stick.  I honestly don’t know how you can do any better than putting it in gear and just driving normal.  And regardless, the data we see today means relative comparisons between 5 and 6 speed automatics vs same manual gear counts.  What happens then when 9 and 10 speeds start proliferating, combined with more effective engine shutoff technology that is right around the corner that makes them virtually seamless.  Wait, I know the answer, the automatic transmission will leap frog manuals in fuel economy, and certainly in performance too, that is not even mentioned here.

 

And it’s good to know that some Diesel owners do better than rated mpg, although I still doubt that even with the gains, they will still not break even from huge front loaded purchase cost to fuel cost savings over comparable gas engines.  Engines that actually give you some performance as well.

The facts on Diesel are clear just like CNG. The up front cost are bigger than petrol but if you hold for more than 3yrs, you not only gain your money back but reduce the long term cost. ROI or return on Investment has always been at least 3yrs. Now with pickup trucks, SUV's and medium duty trucks you are looking at about 18 months for ROI of Diesel and CNG based on 15K miles a year driving.

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I would love to see the data and learn of the driving habits of those who claim such gains driving a stick.  I honestly don’t know how you can do any better than putting it in gear and just driving normal.  And regardless, the data we see today means relative comparisons between 5 and 6 speed automatics vs same manual gear counts.  What happens then when 9 and 10 speeds start proliferating, combined with more effective engine shutoff technology that is right around the corner that makes them virtually seamless.  Wait, I know the answer, the automatic transmission will leap frog manuals in fuel economy, and certainly in performance too, that is not even mentioned here.

 

And it’s good to know that some Diesel owners do better than rated mpg, although I still doubt that even with the gains, they will still not break even from huge front loaded purchase cost to fuel cost savings over comparable gas engines.  Engines that actually give you some performance as well.

The facts on Diesel are clear just like CNG. The up front cost are bigger than petrol but if you hold for more than 3yrs, you not only gain your money back but reduce the long term cost. ROI or return on Investment has always been at least 3yrs. Now with pickup trucks, SUV's and medium duty trucks you are looking at about 18 months for ROI of Diesel and CNG based on 15K miles a year driving.

 

3 years you say?

I did the math for an EcoDiesel relative to a Hemi engine, and it over 10 years to recover costs.  All the while you are stuck with far less performance and towing and capability.

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I would love to see the data and learn of the driving habits of those who claim such gains driving a stick.  I honestly don’t know how you can do any better than putting it in gear and just driving normal.  And regardless, the data we see today means relative comparisons between 5 and 6 speed automatics vs same manual gear counts.  What happens then when 9 and 10 speeds start proliferating, combined with more effective engine shutoff technology that is right around the corner that makes them virtually seamless.  Wait, I know the answer, the automatic transmission will leap frog manuals in fuel economy, and certainly in performance too, that is not even mentioned here.

 

And it’s good to know that some Diesel owners do better than rated mpg, although I still doubt that even with the gains, they will still not break even from huge front loaded purchase cost to fuel cost savings over comparable gas engines.  Engines that actually give you some performance as well.

The facts on Diesel are clear just like CNG. The up front cost are bigger than petrol but if you hold for more than 3yrs, you not only gain your money back but reduce the long term cost. ROI or return on Investment has always been at least 3yrs. Now with pickup trucks, SUV's and medium duty trucks you are looking at about 18 months for ROI of Diesel and CNG based on 15K miles a year driving.

3 years you say?

I did the math for an EcoDiesel relative to a Hemi engine, and it over 10 years to recover costs.  All the while you are stuck with far less performance and towing and capability.

And yet I look at my fuel gauge and yearly mileage and your math doesn't add up for me.

Maybe you need to do it better.

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My bad on the math.

Driving a Ram 1500 at today’s national average fuel prices of gas ($2.835) and Diesel ($2.870), it actually takes over 19 years to recover the $3,120 premium for an EcoDiesel above the 8 speed Hemi, using 28 & 25 mpg respectively, which driving 15K per year.  All the while having to suffer with far less performance  and towing capability.

 

So again, that is 19 years to recover the price premium.  IOW, most will NEVER recover it.

But yes, there is some relief in knowing that your resale premium MIGHT help with some of that wasted $$$.  Maybe.

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Ok.

Now, do it for gas and diesel prices of $1.25/L and $1.05/L respectively, with an improvement of, say, 5L/100km for the diesel, averaging 20,000km/year (I'll be nice and use 87 Octane, and lowball my observed mileage jump):

That's 1,000 fewer litres per year. If it was gasoline for gasoline that alone would be $1,250 saved annually. But it's not, it's diesel. So throw on another 20 cents saved per litre. That takes you to $1,450 saved annually. Stretch that over three years and you're at $4,350, which I'm pretty sure more than covers the cost of the EcoDiesel.

Bit of a discrepancy, wot?

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And as was noted in the opening post, it's not like you're actually saving fuel with turbo V6 engines. The article even links to Ford's mileage retractions and everything.

Sorry man. GM's smallblock, and in particular Ram's EcoDiesel, offer far less sticker shock at the pump. That's just the way it is

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My bad on the math.

Driving a Ram 1500 at today’s national average fuel prices of gas ($2.835) and Diesel ($2.870), it actually takes over 19 years to recover the $3,120 premium for an EcoDiesel above the 8 speed Hemi, using 28 & 25 mpg respectively, which driving 15K per year.  All the while having to suffer with far less performance  and towing capability.

 

So again, that is 19 years to recover the price premium.  IOW, most will NEVER recover it.

But yes, there is some relief in knowing that your resale premium MIGHT help with some of that wasted $$$.  Maybe.

 

You're completely missing the point of the link and the thread. Lets try this again:

 

"Diesel owners reported 20-percent higher fuel economy than EPA ratings."

 

The EPA numbers do not reflect the real-life fuel economy benefits of diesels and manual transmissions, as well as the weaknesses of turbocharging. Consumers are being misinformed and make inaccurate assumptions about cost to own.

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The thing is, eventually the buying public stop being fooled. I don't think it's a coincidence that the F-Series is losing market share while shoving EB down everyone's throats. And I now know through personal experience why there's a 20-ish percent take rate on the EcoDiesel.

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My bad on the math.

Driving a Ram 1500 at today’s national average fuel prices of gas ($2.835) and Diesel ($2.870), it actually takes over 19 years to recover the $3,120 premium for an EcoDiesel above the 8 speed Hemi, using 28 & 25 mpg respectively, which driving 15K per year.  All the while having to suffer with far less performance  and towing capability.

 

So again, that is 19 years to recover the price premium.  IOW, most will NEVER recover it.

But yes, there is some relief in knowing that your resale premium MIGHT help with some of that wasted $$$.  Maybe.

 

You're completely missing the point of the link and the thread. Lets try this again:

 

"Diesel owners reported 20-percent higher fuel economy than EPA ratings."

 

The EPA numbers do not reflect the real-life fuel economy benefits of diesels and manual transmissions, as well as the weaknesses of turbocharging. Consumers are being misinformed and make inaccurate assumptions about cost to own.

 

Nope, did not miss it. Even mentioned how the 20% gains, assuming they are real, will help customers to recover their Diesel premium upgrade from a Hemi in the life of their vehicle......and recalculating, I see that the 20% gain does a good job of that, chopping the duration to 7.4 years, which probably exceeds the duration of time many own it, but still a nice improvement.

 

But what does not change, is that fact that the customer is stuck with a slow vehicle that tows a fraction of the amount of towing and hauling capacity.

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But if you drive your EB fast it gets lousy FE. You can't have Eco and Boost, remember?

And with two more gears in its transmission than a Ford it's not like the EcoDiesel is exactly slow.

But hey, you keep fighting the good fight for a lost cause. It keeps me entertained, if nothing else :D

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I'm going to post the actual math:

 

The 2015 Ram 1500 Hemi 8-speed is rated 22 mpg highway (NOT 25mpg) and costs $1650 to upgrade. The EcoDiesel is rated 28 mpg highway, but for the sake of this thread lets say it's 33 mpg in real life. It costs $4770.

 

Price difference: $3,120

 

Here's the cost to own for 15,000 miles driven annually at $2.75/gal (for both gas and diesel for consistency).

 

Hemi: 681.82 gallons of gas at $2.75 = $1,875

EcoDiesel: 454.54 gallons of gas at $2.75 = $1,250

 

$625 Savings annually.

 

$3120 / $625 = 4.99 years to recoup cost.

 

If someone drives 20k miles annually as many working truck owners do:

 

$2500 annually for V8

$1667 for EcoDiesel

 

That's $833 savings annually, or just 3.75 years to recoup cost.

Edited by cp-the-nerd

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If you take the Diesel and add CNG to it so you blend at 50/50 you get higher HP and Torque and lower operating cost long term. :P

 

:metal:

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And we're ignoring the large demographic of people that have a price limit set that they intend to spend. So they're either buying a $40,000 well-equipped Hemi, or a $40,000 EcoDiesel. For those people driving off the lot in an EcoDiesel, they are simply pocketing all the fuel savings.

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Automatic v. Manual transmission efficiency is highly dependent on the units you are comparing. There are inefficient manuals out there poorly matched to their engines and there are really efficient automatics.  CVTs and Dual clutches also come into the mix.

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Automatic v. Manual transmission efficiency is highly dependent on the units you are comparing. There are inefficient manuals out there poorly matched to their engines and there are really efficient automatics.  CVTs and Dual clutches also come into the mix.

 

I've seen the Sentra 1.8L/CVT brought up more than once because it fails to achieve it's lofty mpg rating. I'm curious about DCTs though, since they're mechanical operation makes them similar to manual transmissions.

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Automatic v. Manual transmission efficiency is highly dependent on the units you are comparing. There are inefficient manuals out there poorly matched to their engines and there are really efficient automatics.  CVTs and Dual clutches also come into the mix.

 

I've seen the Sentra 1.8L/CVT brought up more than once because it fails to achieve it's lofty mpg rating. I'm curious about DCTs though, since they're mechanical operation makes them similar to manual transmissions.

 

DCT's can do well in the MPG department but I have always seen companies move away from them due to cost.

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