How is the EPA gas mileage on that new car's window sticker determined? It's a complex system, and federal regulators verify just 15% of the ratings, the Detroit Free Press reports. At its Michigan laboratories, the EPA checks between 150 and 300 of the 1,500 to 2,000 car models rated, including every drivetrain variant, the newspaper says. Automakers get 3% wriggle room — for example, EPA tests could render 30.2 mpg on a 31-mpg car — but above that, the EPA imposes penalties and requires the automaker to use the lab results. The penalties are substantial: up to $37,500 per vehicle per day, plus jail for anyone who falsified the report, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers told the newspaper. But the laboratory procedures, which comprise five drivers driving at temperatures from 20 to 95 degrees, are "literally hundreds of pages" long, an AAM spokeswoman told the Free Press.
In other news:
- Just 60% of Americans ages 17 to 19 have driver's licenses, down from 80% in the early 1980s, according to the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute. It's the institute's latest study to find car enthusiasm waning among teenagers — and it echoes this one, as well as this one.
- Chrysler is weighing economic development incentives to invest nearly $200 million at a Detroit engine plant to build 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engines, the Detroit News reports. The move would add up to 250 jobs.
- Toyota, meanwhile, said it would invest $100 million and hire another 400 employees to increase production of the Lexus RX by 41% at its Canadian facility in Cambridge, Ontario. (Lexus is Toyota's luxury division.)
- Ford blamed a fuel-line supplier, TI Automotive, for faulty fuel lines that caused the automaker to recall all 2013 Escapes with the turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder last week, Reuters reports.