“If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"

Saturday, April 26, 2008

High Gas Mileage = A Sure Sale?

I wrote something about the Hummer being a “green” car in my previous post. I did so not only because I am a big Hummer fan, but because I am quite relieved that GM is taking steps to make this behemoth more environment-friendly. Yes! There is no way it can be as fuel-efficient as the super eco-friendly hybrid cars like the Toyota Prius, Honda Civic and the Ford Escape. But I found out recently that the Hummer in a way is more eco-friendly because of how it is manufactured. It may be a gas-guzzler, but at least in its production there are no damages made like the increase of acid rain, water poisoning and the likes. This should be a matter of concern for auto-makers because fuel-efficiency is not the only way to battle pollution. By making vehicles in a way that there is no damage done to the environment and making them fuel-efficient at the same time, auto-makers can make this world a better place to live in.

Sadly though, agencies like the EPA focus more on how many miles a car can travel on a gallon, than on how it is made. But for some people it works. Speaking for myself, the mpg rating of a vehicle can also be an important tool in determining which vehicle to buy. If we don’t have information about how a certain car was built, then at least we can make a contribution to the environment by getting a fuel-efficient car. That much we can do. I am not being a hypocrite here. It’s just that we have no choice but to do so. And with the soaring prices of fuel, we suddenly find ourselves in between a rock and a hard place. It is important that we know how a certain vehicle performed in a fuel-efficiency test. This is where the EPA shines through. I have found a list of vehicles that offer the best gas mileage by class. There are a couple surprises here and there, but you know which ones to expect on the list. Here it is:

(Class Leaders / City MPG / Highway MPG)

Compact Cars (Range: 11-37; Avg.: 21/28)
Toyota Yaris 29 35
Honda Fit 27 34

Midsize Cars (Range: 9-33; Avg.: 18/26)
Hyundai Elantra 25 33
Pontiac Vibe 25 31
Toyota Matrix 25 31

Full-Size Cars (Range: 10-31; Avg.: 15/23)
Hyundai Sonata 21 30
Toyota Avalon 19 28

Luxury Cars (Range: 9-32; Avg.: 15/23)
Mercedes-Benz E-Class (diesel) 23 32
Audi A4* 21 30

Sports Cars (Range: 9-31; Avg.: 16/23)
Audi TT* 22 29
Volkswagen GTI* 22 29

SUVs (Range: 12-28; Avg.: 15/21)
Jeep Compass (2WD) 23 27
Jeep Patriot (2WD) 23 27

Pickup Trucks (Range: 12-26; Avg.: 15/20)
Toyota Tacoma (2WD) 19 25
Ford Ranger (2WD) 19 24
Mazda B2300 (2WD) 19 24

Minivans (Range: 15-28; Avg.: 17/24)
Mazda Mazda5 21 27
Kia Rondo 19 26

Source: EPA's 2008 Fuel Economy Guide

I am longing for the day that a Hummer will be on that list. I’m kinda getting my hopes up because of the recent introduction of the Hummer H3T. It hasn’t yet come close to being on the abovementioned list, but at least you can see a little improvement. And if plans push through, GM may be able to increase the gas mileage of Hummers. All we can do is to wait for a redesign (and maybe a compact version?) But maybe that is already asking too much. We just have to be thankful that steps are taken into making this impressive vehicle more available to the public by making them more eco-friendly than their older counterparts.