America's Seven Worst Gas Guzzlers

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

All this talk about cash for clunkers (a.k.a. gas guzzlers) had me thinking: what are the least fuel efficient new cars currently for sale in the US? Over at, the feds name names—only they don’t give us a straight “bottom ten” list. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s “worst” ratings list one car for each genre. As it’s Sunday, I’m not going deep data diving. (Feel free.) So here are the most environmentally reprehensible rides, from the least least-efficient to the most least-efficient, by vehicle category:

7. Saab 9-3 Aero SportCombi AWD — The “best” of the worst list clocks-in at 15/24 mpg. That’s not bad for a full-sized SUV, but pretty poor for a small wagon. That said, driving the small Saab’s quite a rush; its premium unleaded-fed turbocharged powerplant generates 210hp @ 5500 rpm. With Uncle Sam hoiking corporate average fuel economy standards and Death’s hand resting gently on Saab’s shoulder, the 9-3 Aero SportCombi’s failure to achieve better fuel efficiency is not what you’d call helpful.

6. Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG — If you’re sucking fuel at a furious clip—13/18 mpg under the EPA’s notoriously non-tire-smoking test—you might as well run with the Audi R8s. As Car and Driver‘s test indicates, the E63 AMG Wagon could well be the ultimate sleeper. Just don’t forget to get some kind of rewards card for your fuel purchases. And never wear horizontal stripes.

5. Aston Martin DB9 — Auntie Aston’s slinky coupe is the worst “Minicompact Car” [think: interior volume] a shed load of money can buy. The category includes such stalwarts as the Porsche 911, Mitsubishi Eclipse Spider, Jaguar XK, Ferrari California and . . . that’s it. In fact, the 470hp V8 Aston Martin DB9 isn’t even in the the 2010 listings. Maybe they improved its mileage? At 11/17, the only way was up.

4. Bentley Continental GTC — TTAC wasn’t totally blown away by this monster, but gas guzzling (10/17) was the least of its “issues.” As it should be. I mean, shouldn’t. The EPA estimates the GTC’s annual fuel costs at $3344—if the owner racks up 15,000 miles per year. AS IF. Besides, that’s, what, a week’s worth of depreciation? Oh, the environment. Sorry. BTW: for the purposes of federal regulation, the GTC is a “subcompact car.”

3. Ferrari 612 Scaglietti — Honestly, this car sucks. Gas, that is. Lots and lots and lots of gas. At 9/16 mpg, Maranello’s magic machine is a selfish, completely unjustifiable purchase. Shame on anyone who even THINKS about buying this planet warmer.

2. Bentley Arnage RL / Bentley Azure — The Azure’s 9/15 EPA mpg rating isn’t bad—compared to Bob Lutz’s jet. As a contrarian, I think driving a vehicle that gets under ten mpg is a badge of honor; you’re not even trying to appear PC. The Arnage (tied at 9/15) makes me nostalgic for the old Maserati Merak, which eeked out eight mpg. Talk about progress! One better mpg, a thoroughly modern powerplant and REAL air conditioning. OK, two out of three ain’t bad.

1. Lamborghini Murcielago — If sub-10 mpg is a polluting pistonhead’s badge of honor, the Murci wears it proudly. To wit: is there anyone on planet earth that doesn’t think this thing swallows gas like [joke deleted]? With a 26.4 gallon fuel tank, I’d love to know how much it costs (in fuel) to make the run from rest to the car’s 200 mph+ top end. But that’s me. And again: you Lambo owners are bad, bad people.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Nick Nick on Aug 03, 2009
    The Azure’s 93 cubic feet of passenger space only bests the Toyota Corolla’s interior by one cubic foot. I used to the think the previous gen Camaro had the worst interior volume relative to its exterior dimensions. Looks the Azure is worse. That's quite an accomplishment. This might sound ridiculous, but I am surprised those cars aren't fast through the quarter. 12.5 from over 500bhp net?
  • LouisJamesNYC LouisJamesNYC on Oct 15, 2009

    How about this car for top ten burners? Yeah, the published numbers are one thing, but when a vehicle like this is driven as it should be, then what's your burn rate? Should we be using gallons-per-hour like with boats?