Fuels rush in (2)

The government’s 2010 Fuel Economy guide is out, and here are some not-entirely-random observations:

  • Surprisingly, the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 is not the worst, although at 8 mpg city/14 highway it’s not exactly thrifty. Various stick-shift Lamborghini Murciélagos check in with 8/13, though with the automated manuals they zoom all the way up to 9/14. The 8-mpg buggies are rewarded with the highest gas-guzzler tax: $4200.
  • Honda’s Civic GX, designed for compressed natural gas, is rated 24/36, about the same as its gasoline-powered siblings, but the projected annual cost of fuel is around 40 percent less. (The CNG station built by Chesapeake near 49th and Western sells the stuff for $1.23/gge, which is a little on the high side.)
  • Several flex-fuel vehicles are rated, and invariably they do worse on E85. (Typical: Chrysler Sebring convertible, 18/26 on gas, 13/19 on E85.) Some of the bigger pickups turn in numbers like 9/12 on E85. Which proves my point: the best place for ethanol is in a glass.
  • Worst mileage on an actual hybrid: 17/19, on BMW’s ActiveHybrid X6. (The non-hybrid X6 xDrive35i — whoever it was who invented this labeling needs to be put down, and fast — manages 15/21.)
  • Four-cylinder Jeeps are fairly miserly: the 2WD Compass/Patriot with a stick turns in a respectable 23/29, a hair better than a reputed fuel-sipper like Scion’s current xB. (With 4WD: 23/28.)
  • Apparently there’s only one 4WD minivan left: the Toyota Sienna. (16/21, versus 17/23 for the FWD version.)

(The whole thing in PDF format.)


  1. Steve B »

    19 October 2009 · 3:20 pm

    What cracks me up is the study I remember reading about, but don’t have a link which basically says that it actually takes MORE energy to produce many of the modern smart cars than traditional vehicles.

  2. Donna B. »

    19 October 2009 · 5:14 pm

    I drive a 1998 Cadillac Deville and get 20/28. I have, when trying really hard got 32 highway. Where’s the huge improvement?

    BTW, trying really hard for me means going to speed limit. And in W Texas where the speed limit is 80, I’ve driven above the speed limit and noticed only about a 1 mpg decrease.

    Why the heck should I buy one of these supposedly “fuel efficient” vehicles?

  3. CGHill »

    19 October 2009 · 6:02 pm

    The nice thing about those big lazy V8s is that they don’t have to work too hard, and therefore don’t have to guzzle a lot of fuel.

    In 2000, when I was looking at Mazdas, the 626 with the four-cylinder pulled 22/28, while the V6 version got 20/27. Not what I’d call a huge difference. That teeny four (which I eventually bought) worked its little heart out in town. Scored around 30 out on the open road, though. Still, that’s for a car weighing half a ton less than a ’98 DeVille that was barely working up a sweat.

    I got around 27 mpg in West Texas last time I was out there, with a fair-sized V6.

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