by Jeff Tyndall
With the popularity of hybrid vehicles and increased availability of those silly little roller skates called Smart Cars, fuel efficient cars are as abundant as they were in the 1980′s. What is so troubling is the fact that even though today’s vehicles as a whole are more fuel efficient than their counterparts were even 10 years ago overall models that capable of 40+MPG Highway have decreased. There are seven models in 2009/2010 that get more than 40+ MPG highway; they are the Prius, Civic Hybrid, Insight, Smart, Audi A3 Diesel, VW Golf Diesel, & VW Jetta Diesel. For comparison in 1986 there were 14 models of cars capable of 40+ MPG Highway. The Chevrolet Sprint led the way that year with a still jaw dropping 54MPG. Today the Toyota Prius leads the way at 48MPG.
The chart, compiled by myself, from data available at www.fueleconomydb.com
and with 2009/2010 specs from www.fueleconomy.gov
, shows the amount of vehicle models sold which got 40+ Miles Per Gallon (MPG), the amount which got 50+ if any, and the leading model for that year and its MPG. As you can see the amount of 40+ MPG fuel efficient vehicles fluctuates yearly with the most being 1985 and a string of double digit models in the early 2000′s. But what is most concerning to me is the steady decline in top end MPG, except for the Honda Insight, which has been steadily declining. Even today’s hybrid Prius’ can’t match the efficiency of the Geo Metro gas only cars of 20 years ago. Where is our technological progress?