The Environmental Protection Agency has announced that it plans to review Consumer Reports data that suggests Ford's C-MAX and Fusion hybrids aren't achieving their advertised fuel economy numbers.
Last week, CR reported that both Ford hybrids fell significantly short of their official mileage figures in the independent magazine's own testing. Though both models are rated at 47-mpg combined, CR found that the C-MAX Hybrid returned 37 mpg combined while the Fusion Hybrid netted 39 mpg.
The news comes several weeks after the EPA wrapped up an investigation into Hyundai and Kia's fuel mileage claims. Based on its findings, the EPA told the South Korean automakers to reduce the fuel economy estimates of about 900,000 of their vehicles, and now the companies are facing several lawsuits and could also be hit with civil penalties over the inflated claims.
However, the EPA has pointed out that fuel economy varies to a much greater degree with hybrids than it does with conventionally-powered models like the indicted Hyundai/Kia vehicles.
"There's absolutely no doubt: A hybrid is going to be far more variable than a conventional vehicle," said Linc Wehrly, director of light-duty vehicle center compliance division at the EPA's Ann Arbor laboratory.
The EPA has not announced a timeline for its examination of CR's findings and inquiry into the Ford hybrids' fuel economy.