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Better mileage estimates sought
Newspaper: Senate will likely vote to make the EPA find a better way of measuring fuel economy.
May 17, 2005: 9:11 AM EDT
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NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - The Senate may vote Tuesday to force the Environmental Protection Agency to find a better way of measuring automobile fuel economy, according to the New York Times.

The provision, written by Sen. Maria Cantwell, Democrat of Washington, and incorporated into the highway bill, is intended to make the information on the stickers on the windows of new cars more accurate.

Critics say the current mileage test is less grueling than real-world driving because it is done at lower speeds and with more gentle acceleration and without the use of accessories like air conditioners or defrosters.

According to the Times, supporters of the provision say it would cut mileage estimates 10 to 30 percent.

"Nobody drives the way the EPA thinks they do," Christopher T. Plaushin, national manger of regulatory affairs at AAA, told the newspaper.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers believes that the current system is fine. "No testing procedure can account for all the variables that influence fuel economy," Gloria Bergquist, a spokeswoman for the alliance, told the newspaper.

"We've done a lot of surveys and research and found that consumers generally are getting the gas mileage they expect from their vehicles. Some are getting fewer miles per gallon while others are getting better mileage than expected."

The Senate and House will also consider a provision passed by the House that would overturn state laws that make rental car companies liable, without limit, for damage done by their customers, the newspaper said.

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