Want To Save Gas? Don't Buy American - Announcing The True Heroes And True Villains At The Pump

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
want to save gas don t buy american announcing the true heroes and true villains

Some automakers have cars that get a stupendous mileage, but they are priced or built so that nobody wants them. We won’t name names, draw your own conclusions. A much better metric than the mileage of a car is the mileage of all cars you sell. The combined mileage of all cars sold by a manufacturer or brand used to be a top secret document. Manufacturers with stellar averages sometimes leaked theirs. But what good are these statistics if manufacturers with mediocre averages hide their data? Thankfully, last year TrueCar started tracking the MPG averages of cars sold in the U.S. And it is coming to surprising results.

Not surprisingly, the most fuel efficient cars are sold by smart and MINI. Duh, all they have are small cars.

Once the offerings get a bit more diverse, Hyundai emerges as a clear winner with an average MPG of 27.8 in February 2012. Hyundai is closely followed by Volkswagen with 27.4 MPG. JLR can boast that it affords the luxury of absolutely atrocious mileage, a label Jaguar and Land Rover share with truck-heavy Ram.

With one narrow exception, Detroit cars are below average when it comes to combined mileage. A Volt doesn’t do anything to the environment if people don’t buy it. The only Detroit brand above average is Buick. The German and Chinese influenced brand is a tenth of a mile better than run-of-the-mill.

TrueCar TrueMPG By Brand, February 2011

BrandFeb-12Feb-11YoYsmart36.236.20.0MINI30.330.00.3Hyundai27.826.11.7Volkswagen27.425.51.9Kia26.125.80.3Scion26.025.60.4Honda24.724.60.1Mazda24.624.30.3Toyota24.525.0-0.5Mitsubishi24.525.1-0.6Subaru23.523.20.3Nissan23.422.80.6Suzuki23.423.20.2Buick22.420.32.1Industry22.321.40.9Audi22.222.00.2Chevrolet21.721.30.4Ford21.317.34.0Lexus21.221.20.0Acura21.119.91.2Saab20.922.4-1.5Chrysler20.919.51.4Volvo20.921.2-0.3BMW20.520.20.3Mercedes20.519.11.4Dodge20.319.80.5Lincoln19.718.80.9Infiniti19.619.7-0.1Porsche19.421.0-1.6GMC18.918.90.0Jeep18.617.61.0Cadillac18.418.8-0.4Jaguar18.018.00.0Ram15.615.60.0Land Rover15.014.01.0

The YoY column says what manufacturers actually do about mileage. It compares the combined MPG of cars sold in February 2012 with that of cars sold in February 2012.

The star of the MPG improvement category clearly is Ford. Within one year, Ford delivered 4 miles per gallon more across all Fords sold. If Ford keeps up this performance, it will soon be found in the hero category. The company not rescued by the government has the best improvement and the best overall MPG ranking of all Detroit makers.

Top ranking Hyundai and Volkswagen improved their MPG by 1.9 and 1.7 miles respectively. Buick surprisingly improved a below-average 20.3 MPG last year by a class-leading 2.1 miles. Ford and Buick protected Detroit’s virtue: The mileage may still be sub-par. But at least, something is being done to improve it.

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  • Otterpops Otterpops on Feb 09, 2014

    Ford was rescued. They wouldn't have survived GM or possibly even Chrysler dying. They would have had poorer terms on credit if they hadn't had the implicit guarantee that the feds would bail them out. They didn't have to actually take direct payments from the government to make money on it. Every company that manufactures cars in the US or used the same suppliers as GM and Chrysler benefited.

  • Billfrombuckhead Billfrombuckhead on Feb 11, 2014

    So TTAC is now hiding behind those experts at Consumer Reports. ROFL. The Cherokee is a world car where that 9th gear will get used on the Autobahn, Autostrada, the wilds of Texas, that lonely stretch of I20 between Atlanta and Augusta, the Australian outback, Saudi Arabia and the rest of the world. TTAC continues to tell everyone that American vehicles get bad gas mileage when a Pentastar Ram gets 100 more miles per tank of gas than a V6 Tundra!

  • Kenneth Ironic story here...My father's first Hyundai/Kia car was an 86 Hyundai Excel, we drove it from Oklahoma to California and back the first year he had owned it; it was so under powered that every hill on the interstate (and every other road) was done in second gear, he put 300,000 miles on it before he sold it. It wasn't fast, it wasn't fancy but it got the job done and never left him on the side of the road.He owns a 2020 Kia Soul now...My first Hyundai which I recently bought is a 2014 Hyundai Equus Signature which I picked up in Phoenix and drove back to Oklahoma, it is everything that the Excel isn't and so much more.
  • Analoggrotto Another step in towards total adoption of Tesla vehicles for the ENTIRE american public by 2025. Anyone who refuses to admit that TESLA is the best will be deported from our galaxy, our future and our universe.
  • Dukeisduke This makes me think of the gimmicky ads for some retail electricity providers here in Texas, specifically TXU Electric and Reliant - "free nights", "free weekends", etc.
  • BEPLA Just say no to driving around in circles for hours turning left the entire way and calling it a "sport"
  • BEPLA I can make a guess why this car is in the junkyard:A severe lack of maintenance, causing catastrophic system failure - most likely the engine locked up from a lack of oil changes.