Mini will have to reduce its MPG numbers for the popular Copper S model. This is being reported on the government’s website, fueleconomy.gov, after an EPA audit of the brand found that the automaker’s numbers were too high. In some cases, way too high.
EPA Estimates Usually Conservative
Torque News’ writers test multiple vehicles per week. Generally, the EPA estimates prove very accurate overall. In my personal testing of vehicles this year, I have never seen any vehicle go below the estimates. Most cars I test return fuel economy measurably greater than the combined MPG and highway MPG estimates. I have not tested the Mini, but another journalist I spoke to tested a Mini Countryman, and like my findings, his mileage also exceeded the EPA estimates. Another I spoke to said that, indeed, he felt that the Mini he tested did have lower fuel economy than expected.
How Are EPA Numbers Generated?
Automakers use computer simulations paired with actual laboratory testing of the vehicles they make to determine the “EPA estimated mileage.” The EPA has standardized testing procedures that the automakers replicate. This has the benefit of saving taxpayers money, but ever since Hyundai Kia was forced to “correct” some of its numbers, the EPA has upped its auditing. The EPA is still holding Hyundai Kia off its MPG rankings of top automakers over the scandal.
Which Mini Is Affected?
The Mini Cooper S, 2.0-liter, 3-door, manual transmission car is the one that had the highest adjustment. Its highway mileage will be reduced from 38 MPG to 34 MPG, an 11% decrease. That same model will only see a 1 MPG reduction in its combined mileage. Other models by Mini that see reductions are the 1.5-liter in both manual and automatic transmissions and the S model with automatic. This is the heart of the Mini line and makes up the bulk of the brand’s US sales.
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What Did EPA Say?
On its website, fueleconomy.gov said of the EPA audit:
"The Mini Cooper 3-door was found to have road-loads (i.e. aerodynamic drag, tire rolling resistance, and driveline friction) which exceeded EPA audit criteria when compared to the values originally reported by BMW at the time of certification. Both BMW and EPA performed emissions and fuel economy testing of the affected models using the road-loads determined in the production vehicle audit. While these vehicles were found to be in compliance with the emissions standards, the fuel economy label values were affected."
What do you think? Should the EPA come right out and call companies that they find have inflated fuel economy numbers cheaters? Let us know in the comments below.