22 June 2010

Highest MPG List Has Some Surprises

The Detroit Free Press

It was only a couple of years ago that gasoline prices peaked at more than $4 a gallon. Even though prices receded, few doubt that high-priced gas could eventually be with us again. In light of that, you'd think that the landscape would be filled today with 40-m.p.g. cars. Well, it isn't.

The surprise comes from a list the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency put together of the most fuel-efficient vehicles in the past 25 years.

Few are from today. Most are from many years ago. For all the talk today about hybrids, electrics and greater fuel efficiency from conventional engines, the list underscores how little progress we've made toward weaning ourselves off oil.

No wonder that hyper-milers like Louis Hudgin of Gilbert, Ariz., were driving old cars like Hudgin's 2001 Honda Insight when we interviewed them a couple years ago.

Modern cars didn't get as much mileage as the older ones, a big problem for those who squeeze as many miles out of every gallon of gas as Hudgin does.

Hudgin was routinely getting more than 100 m.p.g.

Granted, a lot of those high m.p.g. cars of yore were pretty lousy. In the past, it was uninspiring cars like the Geo Metro and Chevy Sprint leading the gas mileage race, making a 2010 Toyota Prius look like a luxury car in comparison.

Most fuel-efficient cars of the past 25 years

Mileage figures are city/highway/combined

2000 Honda Insight ... 49/61/53
2010 Toyota Prius ... 51/48/50
1986 Chevy Sprint ... 44/53/48
1990-94 Geo Metro ... 43/52/47
1986-87 Honda
Civic CR-X ... 42/51/46
1994-95 Honda
Civic HB ... 39/50/43
2006-10 Honda
Civic hybrid ... 40/45/42
1985 Pontiac Firefly ... 39/47/42
1985 Suzuki SA310 ... 39/47/42
2010 Honda Insight ... 40/43/41

Source: www.fueleconomy.gov

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