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Which Are America’s Highest-Mileage Automobiles?

Hint: it begins with i (as in the Mitsubishi battery car).

by on Nov.21, 2011

The 2012 mileage champ, the Mitsubishi i, at 112 MPGe.

The long-struggling Mitsubishi has finally landed at the top of the charts.  In this case, the Environmental Protection Agency declaring the little Japanese battery-electric vehicle the most fuel-efficient automobile on American roads, averaging a whopping 112 miles per gallon equivalent.

That’s the Combined rating for the 2012 Mitsubishi i, which gets 126 miles in the federal government’s City cycle and 99 on the Highway.  The little battery car is currently the smallest and least expensive of the new crop of electric vehicles, carrying a price tag of $27,990 – before the $7,500 federal tax credit for high-mileage battery vehicles.

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As you might guess, electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids dominate the 2012 rankings by the EPA, with the Nissan Leaf coming in second with a Combined cycle rating of 99 MPGe – which is designed to convert the power stored in a battery into its equivalent were the vehicle to be running on conventional gasoline.


Finding America’s Most Fuel-Efficient Automobiles

No, they aren’t all hybrids.

by on Mar.11, 2011

America's most fuel-efficient vehicle, the Toyota Prius.

The following story has been revised to include the Ford Fusion Hybrid in the Top 10 list.

If recent weeks are any indication, many American motorists are rethinking what to drive.  Last month’s sales numbers saw a spike in demand for small cars and hybrids (though there was also a bump in demand for pickups and bigger SUVs, despite rising fuel prices).

While there’s a law of diminishing returns, increasing your fuel economy from, say, 20 to 30 mpg can add up to savings of hundreds, even thousands of dollars a year, no wonder why so many motorists are thinking about downsizing or at least opting for alternative powertrains.

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The good news is that you don’t necessarily need to switch to a battery car or hybrid to achieve big improvements in your fuel economy.  Nor do you need to swap that family van for a minicar.

True, vehicles relying on at least some form of battery power – whether hybrids, plug-ins or pure battery-electric vehicles – top the latest mileage charts, the latest crop of internal combustion engines are yielding respectable numbers – often at substantially lower sticker prices.


A Quarter Century of Mileage Misers

Who Needs Hybrids?

by on Jun.14, 2010

The latest Honda Insight delivers Top 10 mileage, but some of the most fuel-efficient cars of the last quarter century have relied on gas or diesel powertrains, not hybrid power.

Who needs hybrids?  Though gasoline-electric powertrains certainly raise the bar when it comes to fuel efficiency, you don’t always have to go quite so high-tech, as a review of the last quarter-century’s biggest mileage misers will reveal.

More than half the cars on the EPA’s Top 10 list of Rated Fuel Sippers used conventional gasoline technology, rather than hybrid powertrains.

As almost any motorist can tell you, the government mileage rating on your window sticker is only an estimate, calculated under carefully controlled conditions.  “Mileage,” as they say, “may vary,” often by quite a bit when it comes to real-world driving.  And the EPA’s Top 10 Real-World Fuel Sippers reveals that traditional power is even more dominant, accounting for six models on the list.

(Increased fuel Economy will carry a steep price. Click Here for more.)

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The original, 2-seat Honda Insight tops both charts.  The 2000 model-year version, with its 3-cylinder 1-liter hybrid powertrain was rated at 49 mpg City/61 Highway, and a Combined mileage rating of 53.  Tracking real-world driving, the EPA says the 2004 through 2006 version of the aluminum-bodied Honda Insight delivered a user average of 70.4 mpg, compared with a government Combined rating of 52 mpg.