NYC analysis finds hybrids' mpg advantage is better than EPA suggests


In New York City, Hybrid cars and trucks beat their EPA fuel economy ratings in fleet service, according to analysis from the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS), which manages the Big Apple\’s municipal fleet.

\”DCAS Fleet looked at actual fuel economy in calendar year 2019 for 4,000 non-policing fleet units including sedans, SUVs, pickups, and vans,\” the agency said in a statement. \”These units traveled over 18 million miles in this period with half the mileage using hybrid vehicles and the other half non-hybrids.\”

The analysis did not include plug-in hybrids or all-electric cars, which are also used by some New York City government agencies. Because it was focused on government-operated vehicles, the analysis also did not include New York\’s sizable fleet of hybrid taxis.

2011 Chevrolet Volt joins NYPD Fleet

Based on EPA ratings, hybrids in New York\’s fleet should have been 118% more fuel efficient than non-hybrids, according to the DCAS. Using telematics, the agency determined that hybrids were actually 155% more fuel efficient.

However, all categories of hybrids fell short of their EPA ratings, according to the analysis. It\’s just that, for the most part, non hybrids failed to match their EPA ratings by an even wider margin.

Overall, hybrids were 12% less fuel efficient than their EPA ratings, but non-hybrids were 24% less efficient.

Non-hybrid sedans actually came closer to matching their EPA ratings than hybrids, achieving actual fuel economy of 31.8 mpg, compared to the EPA-predicted 32 mpg. Hybrid sedans managed actual fuel economy of 40.5 mpg, which was 16% lower than the EPA rating of 48.0 mpg.

2018 Toyota Prius

In other categories, though, hybrids had a clear advantage. Hybrid SUVs only missed their EPA ratings by 4%, compared to 26% for non-hybrids.

Very short trips in city use, and lots of sitting still in traffic, probably help account for that hybrid advantage.

The findings run counter to what we reported about some hybrids many years ago—that hybrid models from Ford and other automakers weren\’t measuring up.

2009 Ford Escape Hybrid used by NYPD traffic unit, by Samuel Smith from

City fleets originally had many first-generation Ford Escape Hybrids. We\’ll see if the new version measures up in popularity. Alternatively, the current Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is the top-selling hybrid in the U.S. market, and a Green Car Reports recommendation.

The proliferation of hybrid crossovers like the Escape and RAV4 shows how hybrid technology has become more ubiquitous, leaving the process of greening fleets to more than just going hybrid.

Does hybrid technology have a future in urban uses?


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