Determination of the R Factor for Fuel Economy Calculations Using Ethanol-Blended Fuels over Two Test Cycles
During the 1980s, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) incorporated the R factor into fuel economy calculations in order to address concerns about the impacts of test fuel property variations on corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) compliance, which is determined using the Federal Test Procedure (FTP) and Highway Fuel Economy Test (HFET) cycles. The R factor is defined as the ratio of the percent change in fuel economy to the percent change in volumetric heating value for tests conducted using two differing fuels. At the time the R-factor was devised, tests using representative vehicles initially indicated that an appropriate value for the R factor was 0.6. Reassessing the R factor has recently come under renewed interest after EPA's March 2013 proposal to adjust the properties of certification gasoline to contain significant amounts of ethanol.