DETROIT (AP) — Ford will reduce gas mileage estimates for its C-Max hybrid, following a government investigation into consumer complaints that the car’s actual mileage was lower, a person familiar with the matter said Thursday.
Ford will drop the combined city-highway mileage listed on the window sticker from 47 mpg to 43 mpg, according to the person, who asked not to be identified because the change has not been formally announced.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which monitors gas mileage testing, began its probe earlier this year after consumers complained that the C-Max’s mileage fell short of estimates.
Ford followed EPA methods to calculate the C-Max mileage, but in this case, the numbers still were overstated, according to the person familiar with the matter.
Ford spokesman Todd Nissen would not comment Thursday afternoon. The company had scheduled an announcement about gas-mileage on Friday, without giving specifics.
It’s the second time in less than a year that the EPA has made an automaker reduce window sticker mileage figures. In November, the EPA found inflated numbers on 13 Hyundai and Kia models.
The Ford error likely stems from EPA test procedures that let automakers test one car, then apply that car’s gas mileage to other models with the same engines, transmissions and weight classifications, said John German, a senior fellow at the International Council on Clean Transportation and a former EPA mileage certification official.
In this case, Ford would be allowed to test the Fusion midsize hybrid and apply its mileage figures to the C-Max. But the C-Max may not get the mileage of the Fusion in the real world because it sits higher and has more wind drag.