B. and I saw a Smart Car in a showroom last week, while shopping for a new TV.  It looks like one of those toy cars for kids.  (Real-life scale shown here, here.)

But the really surprising thing is, its listed mileage kind of sucks.  I don’t remember exactly, but it was something like 35/41 city/hwy.  I don’t know what model we saw, but the official site lists mileage for the basic car as 40/45 (EPA 2007), and 33/41 (EPA 2008).

At first I thought, wow, that’s crap mileage – for a car that should get really good mileage, given its small size and light weight.  (And for which I would think good mileage would be the main reason to buy it, given that it looks absurd, and if you’re ever in an accident, I have to think you’d be toast.)

But then I read that in 2007, EPA revised its testing models (for all cars) to increase accuracy, and now even mileage for hybrids isn’t so hot.  The EPA estimates are now much closer to actual use, which is great.  Consumers have a better basis for comparison.  And, it makes me feel better for only getting an average of 40 mpg with my ’03 Honda Civic hybrid. 

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