There are automakers that treat you like a moron. They sell you a fuel saving package that costs so much and/or saves so little that you won’t see the savings until you and the car are ancient. As some comments will surely prove, there are people who like to be treated as morons. For those, some alleged fuel saving packages serve a purpose. Some like to be insulted, whipped and charged $800 by a dominatrix, others prefer the same treatment from a dealer. Nothing wrong with it amongst consenting adults.
TrueCar released a study that shows that depending in the car and the greed of its maker, the hundreds of extra dollars paid for the premium fuel-boosting option could make immediate financial sense or could be pouring money down the drain. In some cases, your car, even you will be long retired before the initial investment is paid back.
The worst offender on TrueCar’s list is the 2012 Chevrolet Cruze ECO. It costs $853 more than the comparably equipped model. At annual savings of $18 (assuming $3.90 and 15,000 miles per year, YMMV) it would take 48 years before the $853 are paid back.
Second worst offender on the list is the 2012 Ford Fiesta SE with SFE package. According to Torquenews “SFE stands for Super Fuel Economy, which seems like a bit of a joke because the fuel economy difference between the Fiesta SE with SFE and the Fiesta SE is three-tenths of a mile per gallon. It’s going to take you 36 years to pay off the higher price of the SFE model.”
The best investment would be the Mazda3 Touring with SkyActiv. It will have saved you before it is driven off the dealer’s lot, simply because it is cheaper than its counterpart. It also provides the highest savings of all cars studied by TrueCar.
A car only brings you true savings at the pump if those savings don’t have to be bought with inordinate surcharges. But again, some people love to be insulted for a fee.
Mr. Obvious speaks: For the calculation, TrueCar used $3.90 for a gallon of gas and 15,000 miles driven annually. They paybacks will come faster if gas goes higher and you drive more. The reverse is also the case. A table detailing the math behind the model can be found here.