Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Is 40 (MPG) the new 30 (MPG)?

42 MPGOnly a few years ago, a car that got 30 MPG was heralded as an outstanding achievement in miles per gallon, even on smaller cars. However, now it looks like the bar is beginning to be raised. Finally.

For instance, the Ford Fiesta has been EPA rated at 40 MPG (highway) with it's twin-clutch automatic (granted, it's rated 29 MPG in the city) and 33 MPG combined. The upcoming 2012 Ford Focus was also announced with a 40 MPG highway rating. The Chevrolet Cruze ECO will be rated at 42. Keep in mind folks, these are not hybrids.

The '11 Mazda 2 is rated at 29 city and 35 highway—I'd say that's very respectable. However, some are already saying that's not good enough, and it should get 40 MPG. Ditto this with the '11 Yaris, which is rated at 29/36 (manual). However, one can only assume the next generation of subcompacts—Accent, Rio, Yaris, Swift (?), 500—will all get outstanding mileage.

So is 40 MPG the new fuel standard at which small cars will be judged? Will certain subcompacts and even compacts be shunned if they're getting 35 on the highway?

It appears the bar is indeed being raised. The next few years should prove to be interesting.


D2M said...

What's taken so long? I was hearing people gripe about the low gas mileage on smaller cars a few years ago. They were saying that--even if you account for the newer MPG standard--older cars got significantly better gas mileage. They were also saying the technology was there to get better MPG.

That's what I heard. I don't know if it's true.

40MPG becoming the new standard would be great. :)

Glen said...

What about that Volkswagon blue deisel that gets like 70?

Black Titan said...

I've already gotten 40 mpg in my Fit one

Andy Lilienthal said...

As far as what's taken so long, I'm not sure. If I had to guess, I'd say there was no reason to. Consumers didn't demand cars that got more than 30 MPG and gas was quite a bit less expensive. Then, of course, we have the new CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standard of 35 MPG set by the government. This has made automakers revise their lineups and engine choices to increase their mileages across the board.

I've said this a million times, but remember the '80s? Many cars got 40 MPG and up. Granted, they were very slow, had few saftey features, and were much more Spartan. However, they weighed a lot less, as well. Look at the Automotive X Prize winner, the Edison 2. Good aerodynamics, small engine, light weight = 100+ MPG. I think the car makers can learn from the Edison 2, so long as they can keep their vehicles on the safe side.

nlpnt said...

Before I took my Scangauge off the dash (too distracting and was having Velcro issues) I was regularly getting low 40s from my Yaris. Granted, that's with a lot of rural two-lanes and minimal a/c use, but still pretty good.

I think the new gas mileage standards pretty consistently underrate the generation of small cars on the market as of 2007-8, and wonder how much "teaching to the test" is going on with the new ones.

Anonymous said...

We couldn't get our early-90's Geo Metros below 30mpg no matter how aggressively we drove. Regular 70mph freeway cruises returned around 45mpg, and hypermiling got us well over 50mpg.

New cars are saddled with heavy safety equipment and unnecessary luxuries which hurt fuel economy, but finally this new batch of high-compression, direct-injected fuel sipping engines are finally bringing respectable fuel economy back to the United States.

D2M said...

My '09 Fit is an automatic (not safe for a person like me to drive manual!) and it gets 31MPG with mostly city and a little highway driving. I think that's pretty good considering. We get about 36mpg with just straight highway driving.

I wish we could have diesel over here. I hear they're not near as dirty as they use to be. :-/