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Ford hybrids fail to meet gas mileage ratings, Consumer Reports says

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Jae C. Hong/AP/FIle

(Read caption) This file photo taken last week shows the Ford Fusion at the LA Auto Show in Los Angeles. Ford's hybrid models aren't living up to their mpg ratings, according to a new release from Consumer Reports.

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it's always nice when the big boys say, "You're right."

We reported three weeks ago that Ford's new 2013 hybrids were not achieving their 47-mpg EPA gas mileage rating in real-world usage.

Now Consumer Reports has confirmed that finding, based on its own testing, in videos and a blog post published yesterday.

The consumer magazine achieved real-world mileage of 39 mpg combined in the 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid it tested, and 37 mpg in its 2013 Ford C-Max.

Both vehicles are rated at 47 mpg combined by the EPA.

As the magazine's post says, "These two vehicles have the largest discrepancy between our overall-mpg results and the estimates published by the EPA that we've seen among any current models."

That's a pretty damning statement.

Consumer Reports goes on to note that the test results are fully 20 percent lower than the EPA rating, while, "Our overall-mpg results are usually pretty close to the EPA's combined-mpg estimate."

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The post containing the comments includes a chart of the differences between CR's test results and the EPA ratings for 18 different cars it has tested recently. The two Ford hybrids top the list with the greatest difference.

At the other end are the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco, which equaled its 29-mpg rating exactly, and the Honda CR-Z hybrid hatchback, in which CR's test drivers actually bettered its combined 34-mpg rating by 1 mpg.

(We would have preferred Consumer Reports to rank the differences by percent, rather than by the non-linear MPG scale, but the Fords would still have been at the top.)

Other outlets have reported similar results.AutoGuide, for instance, achieved just 40 mpg in a brief test of a Fusion Hybrid.

Earlier, Jason Harper, testing the 2013 Fusion Hybrid for Bloomberg, got 36.9 mpg.

And Gary Gastelu, writing for Fox News, said of his Fusion Hybrid, "It took a lot of work to get it anywhere near 40 mpg, let alone that magic 47 mpg mark."

While Green Car Reports hasn't yet had a 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid to test, we've now driven the C-Max Hybrid twice.

At Ford's media drive, it delivered 37 mpg over 50 miles of mixed freeway and urban driving.

And during an abbreviated weekend test route, we got 40 mpg over 240 miles, mostly at freeway speeds.

The Ford hybrid situation could be especially awkward given that recent gas-mileage ratings errors by Hyundai and Kia have now gotten the attention of Congress.

In those cases, the carmakers had to re-rate their cars; apologize profusely to the public, to officials, and to their buyers; and issue refunds to buyers of the affected cars for the increased gasoline costs over the cars' lifetimes.

Will Ford be forced to take similar action? Stay tuned; there's clearly more to come on this story.


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