By on April 13, 2012

 

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. 

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79 Comments on “Enslaved At The Pump: How Many Years Until You Will Go Free?...”


  • avatar
    KixStart

    What are your values? Some people will pay more for dead trees and cows in the interior. Some people will pay for intangibles, such as efficiency.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      This.

      What’s the ROI in time saved for a V6 over an I4 in the same model of car? Do we calculate man-hours saved for buying a 911 over a Corolla? The effective use of space over time required to cost-justify a pickup truck?

      Why is fuel economy the only metric that has to present a ROI?

      • 0 avatar

        Kickstart: The graph is full of SFE/HE/*ohsospecialsnowflake* models that cost EXTRA, above the regular (maybe base, maybe average) version of that car that the manufacturer already sells with no “Fuel Efficient Model” surcharge. He’s just comparing those ECO models to their ordinary, non-package, *don’t* pay extra counterparts. Then analyzing how much time it will take you to recoup all that extra cost you paid up front given about $4/gallon gas & the high end of average 15k mi a year.

        Psarhjinian: I don’t think he was comparing fours & sixes, I think he was taking the base model, and comparing it to the ECO models all the manufacturers are flogging. Is there really that much UPSCALE movement between a base model and a FUEL SAVING PACKAGE model? Wouldn’t leather be heavier than cloth? I’d figure the FE models would be about the same as the base with low-rolling-resistance tires, and maybe added lightness or adjusted shift-points and the like…and definitely close to the same smallest engines.

      • 0 avatar
        Toad

        Because for most car buyers the primary purpose of saving fuel is to save money. As any 12 year old would say, “Duh.”

        We are not talking about the difference between a 14mpg Chevy Tahoe and a Ford Fiesta, we are talking two different models of the same car, and one is supposed to save you money by using less fuel. If there is no reasonable ROI on the fuel saving package it is worthy to point that fact out.

        You can choose to ignore the information, but it is worthwhile to have it out there for those who are mathematically challenged or just assumed the fuel saving package would actually save them a worthwhile amount of money.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        This is true, but will the tiny tiny increase in fuel economy of a Cruze Eco give you enough jollies to justify the extra cost? I can see springing for a Prius over a 4-banger Camry because the fuel economy is so much better. But even if low single-digit gains in mileage were an aphrodisiac for me, I wouldn’t spend $853 bucks to get it.

        And I have a feeling that most buyers of a Cruze Eco of Focus SFE truly think they are going to save money. I don’t think they are in it for any other reason than perceived ROI.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        “And I have a feeling that most buyers of a Cruze Eco of Focus SFE truly think they are going to save money. I don’t think they are in it for any other reason than perceived ROI.”

        This is a harder question to answer than it used to be, what with the Prius C and Insight being both relatively inexpensive and reasonably capable, and thusly make a lot of these cars redundant, but there are a number of car buyers who don’t like to waste resources. Perhaps it’s the circles I live in, but just about everyone I know makes their car-buying decision with an intent to have as light a footprint as possible.

        Now, some of the, ah, more hardcore people (or rather, the ones who still need a car more regularly than ZipCar can accomodate) I know go further and always, eg, buy used and most will keep their car until it it’s not feasible to keep. And the NRCan/Fueleconomy.gov/Consumer Reports ratings matter, and often out of a sense of responsibility, not frugality.

        And there’s at least as many people who do this as buy sports cars.

        The point is, fuel economy doesn’t have to be about ROI. And even if it is about ROI, why are we discouraging consumption-limiting methods that help in the long run when we’re not critiquing ROI on anything else?

        I really do suspect because there’s a not-so-small knee-jerk reaction at play, and it’s about smugness and insecurity among those two look down on fuel efficiency as a buying criterion. Which is funny, because it’s not uncommon to hear smugness from people who hate the Prius or cars like it than (ostensibly smug) people who own it.

      • 0 avatar
        darkwing

        Actually, the knee-jerk reaction here seems to be coming from folks like yourself, who treat paying more for fuel efficiency, real or imagined, as some kind of first-world indulgence, and look down on others without such an “enlightened” viewpoint.

        People have all sorts of different priorities, and more information is always better. It’s a shame that your snobbery is getting in the way of your understanding that.

      • 0 avatar
        don1967

        @Psar,

        Fuel economy has to present an ROI because to the average person it doesn’t provide any other intrinsic reward or subjective pleasure. It doesn’t tow their boat, stimulate their senses, protect their family in a crash, or get them laid. It just saves them money.

        There are exceptions, of course. Hardcore global warmists derive pleasure from the belief that high fuel economy saves the planet and fights back against capitalism/consumerism. But isn’t it ironic that they would express these views by spending extra money on a disposable consumer product manufactured by a greedy corporation who saw them coming and tacked on a few extra gadgets at a huge markup? Where’s the ROI in that?

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      And some of us are just really pissed that our friends have spent the last decade in the middle east, killing and getting killed in wars that Ockham’s Razor makes me believe are about oil.

      Dollars are important to think about, but ROI calculations are not a replacement for a man’s conscience.

      • 0 avatar
        bunkie

        To add insult to injury, there’s the added joy of being called “morons” by snotty bloggers. But, then again, that just adds to the charm of this place.

        And, to borrow an idea from Gail Collins (who never fails to mention the dog in the carrier on Romney’s roof) , I won’t forget to mention, again, that some of us like wagons just because they are wagons.

      • 0 avatar
        darkwing

        Actually, Occam’s Razor — notice the difference — would suggest that, if the Iraq War was truly about oil, the Marines never would have left Basra, the ports would have been nationalized, and there’d be a trail of American-flagged tankers bringing cheap oil from their Gulf to ours. And that we wouldn’t be in Afghanistan at all, since there’s no oil to speak of there.

        So, it’s not your conscience you’re stroking here, but rather your political faddishness. Yawn.

  • avatar
    Remi

    Exactly… You said yourself that the VW Golf Diesel didn’t make economical sense, yet was a huge success, so is the Prius.

    I don’t think you have to be a masochist to want more efficient transportation, even if in the end, it costs you more…

    • 0 avatar
      fvfvsix

      It can be argued that the VW Golf TDI offers a vastly different driving experience than the non sport-suspensioned 2.5L model.

      It’s like a GTI for those who prefer diesel powerplants.

      I seriously doubt a Cruze eco is a more engaging drive than a regular Cruze.

  • avatar
    supersleuth

    There are a number of stupid things in that “analysis”. We can start with the laughable idea that the only reason you’d pay more for the 1.4T in the Sonic is fuel economy.

    • 0 avatar
      GMis4GoodManners

      That was going to be my point exactly. You don’t buy the 1.4 turbo for the fuel savings – that’s just the cherry on top – you buy it for the increased torque. The fact that you get more pull for less gas puts it in the same category as SkyActive.

  • avatar
    harshciygar

    For a bit of a positive spin, it seems like there are some legit fuel-saving packages out there.

    Most people will keep an F-150 for longer than 4.5 years. The Chevy Sonic takes less than 3 years to pay back, and for family people the Ford Edge and Kia Soul both offer reasonable returns on fuel economy.

    The thing about these packages is that they make more sense for some people than others. If you’re the kind of person driving 30,000+ miles a year in stop and go traffic, a couple of extra mpg can translate into huge savings in very little time.

    I’m glad automakers are offering fuel economy packages these days. Sure, not all of them will make sense, in the same way that ordering a $55,000 Shelby GT500 doesn’t make sense when you can buy a base Mustang and a supercharger kit for less than $40,000 installed.

    Sometimes you are just buying bragging rights…and we know how much of a premium people will pay for that.

    • 0 avatar
      VanillaDude

      Hear! Hear!
      I couldn’t have said it better, and if you read my posting, you know I’m not lying about that.

      How did you get that photo? Did you stop at that gas station I go to that employs felons? I think it’s called “Road Prisoner”?

      I hear you can pay in cigarettes.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    Something else to consider is that a fuel-efficient vehicle is a hedge against future price increases.

    The Prius C didn’t seem to make the list, so I compared it to a genericized version of the vehicles on the list. The C can be obtained for $19K and gets you 50mpg for an annual fuel cost of $1170.

    A competing small car might be $16K, get 33mpg and have an annual fuel cost of about $1770. The payback for a Prius C is 5 years, which is not too bad, as I’d expect to own the car for longer than that.

    However, if fuel prices rise, the payback period is reduced. At $5/gallon, it’s less than 4 years. I’m betting we’ll see $5 gas, very likely $6 gas, too, before I’d be selling any car I bought today.

    Moreover, the fuel efficient cars (hybrids in particular) have been holding their value pretty well, part of the payback may be realized at trade-in time with reduced depreciation.

    Of course, some high-mpg choices are better than others. Well, buyers should be on the lookout for that and make appropriate choices.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      “Something else to consider is that a fuel-efficient vehicle is a hedge against future price increases.”

      That argument still doesn’t hold up if you are comparing a Focus SFE against the regular version, because the proportional gain in economy is so tiny. This only makes sense if you are comparing two vehicles with significantly different fuel consumption.

      If gas prices go so high you can’t afford to drive a Honda Civic, buying the HF version isn’t going to really help you.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        “That argument still doesn’t hold up if you are comparing a Focus SFE against the regular version, ”

        Well, no, but I *can* do math. Which is why my example involved a different car.

        Maybe I’m off the plot a little, here, but when there’s such a wide swath of cars in the comparison, it starts to look like, “it never makes financial sense to spend more for a fuel-efficient car” and that’s not the case.

        Another “badging” comparison one could make, perhaps more in line with the intent of the article, would be the Camry LE vs the Camry LE hybrid. The payback on that looks like a tolerably reasonable 5 years and, as a bonus, the hybrid is a little quicker.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        Sure, I get your point. But I think Bertel’s cranky tone is directed at those trim levels within a model that are marketed as a fuel saving measure but take forever to recoup. I don’t think he is trying to apply this disdain to between-model comparisons like the Prius C vs. economy hatchback example.

        Buying a Prius C instead of a Honda Fit, or a Camry Hybrid instead of LE to save money on your mostly-city commute? Makes financial sense. Buying a Focus SFE to save money over a Focus SE? No so much.

      • 0 avatar
        MrDot

        “Maybe I’m off the plot a little, here, but when there’s such a wide swath of cars in the comparison, it starts to look like, “it never makes financial sense to spend more for a fuel-efficient car” and that’s not the case.”

        The point of the graph is that “super economy” trim levels of the same car often aren’t worth the price premium you pay for them. So, if you’re buying a Cruze, and fuel economy is a big factor in your purchase, you can basically save $800 and forgo the ECO package because it really isn’t worth it.

      • 0 avatar
        bunkie

        One way it could make a lot of sense is if we experience another sharp price shock. Remember back in ’08 when Geo Metros more than doubled in value? I’m not saying that we’d see that again, but the ‘eco’ model of a car might very well return more than the original price difference should one decide to sell.

    • 0 avatar
      Patrickj

      Have had a long commute (80 miles round trip) since late 2007.

      Been doing my payoff math for carpooling, new vehicle, etc. at $5.00 a gallon for the whole time. I would consider using $6.00 a gallon to consider future changes.

  • avatar
    ciddyguy

    I think the point being made here is that for some so called higher efficiency package being touted are NOT all they are made out to be as the mileage difference isn’t as significant as it may seem from the regular car for what you pay for the extra technology.

    This is regardless of the other features the car may have, such as leather, the 6 disc CD changer, the other do dads some people will put in, often at extra costs associated with said items.

    So in essence, even if you don’t add anything extra but get the SFE equipped Fiesta, you are STILL going to have a huge length of payback for that technology since it doesn’t provide you with much of a difference in gas savings to offset it’s initial costs at the time of purchase.

    In this case, I’d rather just by the SE and get what I want and be done with, so long as it can hit what the EPA says it’s capable of without too much work (like hypermiling) and we all know some cars will actually do better than the EPA in the real world without even trying, others, not so much.

    So the lesson here is, just buy the regular car if the mileage difference isn’t enough with the often expensive eco options and the car already gets very good mileage to begin with and be happy with it.

    I’m still interested in the Skyactive variant of the 3 since you don’t seem to pay much of a premium, if any premium at all for it and yet it gets considerably better mileage than the regular 3, even under the older 2.0L motor and yet its city mileage is substantially improved, highway mileage improved enough to make a difference as well for what it costs.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    The only reason left to go this route is the belief you are saving oil, reducing pollution, not sending dollars to our enemies.
    That may all be true, but it’s a statistical drop in the bucket and any benefit from doing this is absorbed quickly by someone else.
    Of course if government strictly mandates we all do it then it might make a bigger dent but the resulting chaos would cause other problems we don’t have a solution for

    • 0 avatar
      YellowDuck

      It’s not a complicated piece of legislation. Tax the fuel a bit more. That gets rid of the problem of someone else “quickly absorbing” your fuel savings.

      The math works better here in Canuckistan where fuel taxes are higher. But honestly I don’t care. My annual fuel costs are not a sufficiently high fraction of my disposable income that it really makes a difference. Instead, I am in the camp with those who will pay more for efficiency just because they don’t want to feel like pigs. I really can’t believe that that is a “statistically insignficant” part of the population.

      Really, this article could only be written in the US. Don’t do anything positive unless it benefits your personal bottom line. I’m not accusing all Americans of that style of thinking, obviously, but the mindset does seem to be more prevalent there than in some other countries. Sometimes it seems like the whole country is run by MBAs…

      • 0 avatar
        fvfvsix

        “Don’t do anything positive unless it benefits your personal bottom line.”

        Did you read the article? The math says “buy a Prius C” instead of a Focus SFE if you really want to do something positive. However, if you’re stuck on a Focus, then the SE will net you about the same gas mileage for less money.

        Don’t turn this into an “Americans are stupid and self-serving” argument.

      • 0 avatar
        darkwing

        It seems to me like, deep down, you don’t want to be bothered worrying about this whole “geopolitics” thing, and you figure that, if you happily give a few extra loonies to the government, you’re freed of personal responsibility in return.

    • 0 avatar
      replica

      Sending dollars to our enemies? Like….Texas and Louisiana?

      I’m not sure I see the case for meaningful reductions in pollution unless it were done on a global scale. Even then, I’ve bypassed the debate if humans can even cause meaningful damage to the environment.

      The American mindset that we “don’t do it unless it effects our bottom line” stems from the mentality that we want the choice. There are plenty of fuel efficient cars on the market for people that are concerned about footprints and whatnot. There are cars for people who don’t care also. There’s no need to increase taxes on gas. Those who use more fuel pay for it themselves already. I can’t think of a more fair system than one based on consumption. If fuel taxes are raised on everyone indiscriminately, to target a group of people to move to more efficient cars, we’re punishing EVERYONE that buys gas, even those that already buy efficient vehicles.

      • 0 avatar
        YellowDuck

        You can add Canada to your list of big oil suppliers to the US – single largest source after the US itself.

        “Those who use more fuel pay for it themselves already. I can’t think of a more fair system than one based on consumption.”

        I can agree with the second sentence, but not the first. Even if you don’t believe in the externalities related to climate change, what about the other public costs of supporting the oil industry? I’m not sure that big fuel consumers really are “paying for it themselves”. We are all paying for our lack of efficiency, through environmental degradation, subsidies to oil companies, military expenses and associated lost lives in nasty parts of the world, and moving steadily closer to the day when it all runs ut anyway.

        Don’t get me wrong…I someimtes burn hydrocarbons for fun too! Track-only motorcycle, total piggery. I just don’t have a problem with paying more for the privilege than I currently do.

      • 0 avatar
        Feds

        “stems from the mentality that we want the choice”

        I always love the duplicitousness in that line of reasoning. We want the choice of driving F150’s with hard toneau covers ensuring we never put anything heavier than a week’s groceries in it, but anyone who wants the choice of a fuel efficient vehicle is a raging moe-ran.

        Your gas tax reasoning falls short too. You’re “punishing” 9 mpg drivers at 3x the rate of 27 mpg drivers. Also, gas is subsidized through general tax revenues already, so someone who drives a fuel efficient vehicle is subsidizing someone else’s ability to drive a gas guzzler.

        Making everyone driving something less efficient than they need a socialist pinko commie mau-ist pinko socialist commie.

        [edit: Damn Duck, you fast!]

      • 0 avatar
        replica

        Saying we all pay for oil through taxes is like me complaining that I pay for people’s kids to go to school through property taxes even though I never intend to have them. It’s pretty hopeless. I’m also curious how oil related jobs would be affected if consumption was artificially forced down by government intervention. Are we about to run out of oil? How much is left? If we think we’re about to run out, we must surely know where and how much oil is left on Earth. I also can’t think of a bigger motivation for energy companies to innovate when oil actually does become unfeasible due to rarity. No need for taxes if the market adjusts based on supply and demand.

        I think my biggest gripe is that I don’t see the relation between giving the government money and this problem being solved.

        I’m not sure how I feel about this “war for oil” theory. Wouldn’t it have been cheaper for the US to just buy the rights to the oil in Iraq than spend trillions invading it?

        Mr. Feds, I never implied that driving a fuel efficient car was a social ill. My last car got about 36-38 mpg, and my current gets about 29 mpg. Though I did enjoy you stereotyping people with trucks, you know, because they owe society something….because. Let’s attack subsidized oil, and not direct government subsidies of buying a hybrid.

      • 0 avatar
        early

        Air pollution occurs on a local level too, not just the global climate change argument. Ever see a desert southwestern city located in a valley from far away on a still day with a thick cloud of yellow smog engulfing the city?

        I think it is funny when those who drive vehicles requiring a lot of gas complain about the price of it without acknowledging they are a contributor to increased demand while not acknowledging that more efficient drivers lower demand relatively

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        “Saying we all pay for oil through taxes is like me complaining that I pay for people’s kids to go to school through property taxes even though I never intend to have them.”

        However, you do understand that you’re going to get benefits from these other people’s kids, right?

      • 0 avatar
        replica

        No. I don’t. I wish people would pay for their own kids school. Also, the income tax penalty for not having kids is a nice touch too.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        Who do you think is going to take care of you in the nursing home? Who’s going to be providing the steam for the economic engine when you retire? Who’s payin in to Social Security when you’re taking it out? Who’s growing the food? Providing your medical care?

        It’s in your best interest for the next generation to be fully prepared to run the country.

        The “income tax penalty” or benefit as seen from the other side does not begin to approach what it costs to actually raise a child.

      • 0 avatar
        fvfvsix

        “Ever see a desert southwestern city located in a valley from far away on a still day with a thick cloud of yellow smog engulfing the city?”

        It’s called “Brown Cloud”. And yes, I live in a Desert Southwestern City. Brown Clouds are primarily comprised of…wait for it… Dust.

        You’d get just as many brown cloud days with the same population density and zero cars, dude.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        fvfvsix,
        If your brown clouds are occurring when it is not windy, then it is not dust. If they are occurring when it is windy, then you are not thinking of the same thing Early is referring to.

      • 0 avatar
        early

        556, do you believe there is nothing that comes out of a tailpipe that is harmful to people or environment?
        Of course combustion of gasoline or diesel produces by-products, the atoms in petroleum do not disappear when burned

      • 0 avatar
        fvfvsix

        @early – don’t be silly. I never said that tailpipe emissions were completely harmless.

        And for the record, I did my googling, and you’re right- Brown cloud is more Carbon and NO2 than dust (however, the dust provides the color). Having been here for a number of years, I can tell you that construction dust has been a huge factor in determining our “brown cloud days” over the past decade. With the housing bust, it’s been noticeably clearer throughout the year for a while. And I also quote:

        “According to the recently formed Maricopa County Air Quality Department, the worst offenders contributing to the area’s most recent downturn in air quality appear to be housing developers who paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines for dust and permit violations during the past year.”

        As to why it forms…

        “At night, an inversion layer forms over the Valley. As with any desert, the air closer to the ground cools faster than the air above. However, unlike most other deserts, cool air then moves in on top of the warm air westward from the surrounding mountains.

        As a result, the air trapped closer to the ground in the Valley, the air containing the majority of the pollutants in the area, spreads. As the desert floor heats up during the day, the particulates rise forming a visible haze that expands as the day progresses.”

        Still largely a function of population density in said valley, with or without the tailpipes.

  • avatar
    Chicago Dude

    I went over to the Ford website and it clearly says that the SFE package is $395 on the Fiesta SE and $495 on the Focus SE.

    This article is claiming that the packages cost $611.

    Additionally, the Fiesta SFE package includes cruise control – something that has significant value (I would never buy a car without it!). The Focus SFE package includes rear disc brakes – again something that has significant value.

    I would argue that the SFE packages on these two cars will recover their cost on trade-in alone and any fuel economy gain is just a bonus. I question why anyone buying the SE version of the Focus or Fiesta would NOT buy the SFE package.

    • 0 avatar
      supersleuth

      Conveying accurate information was clearly neither the aim of that asinine “study” nor Bertel’s aim.

    • 0 avatar
      MrDot

      You’re looking at MSRP from Ford. TrueCar is looking at transaction prices after the dealer’s mark them up.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Agreed, the hi-efficiency models should have been run through True Delta’s price-comparison wizard to account for additional options included in the HE models.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      I’ve been critical of Bertel’s other posts based on TrueCar information, but I will play devil’s advocate here. I checked Ford’s site and TrueCar’s numbers appear correct. I’m not sure where you saw $395 for the SFE package on a Fiesta. TrueCar lists $695 for SFE on the Fiesta, and $495 for SFE on the Focus. Building these cars on Ford’s site shows the same numbers.

      The $611 figure listed by TrueCar is not the package cost, but the premium for the SFE package based on their information for average prices actually paid.

      As to why buy anything but the SFE version? It’s only available on sedans with an automatic transmission. The hatch is more expensive and a personal preference, so it is outside the scope of this discussion. The automatic on the other hand is an extra cost option, so it’s fair game if the point of this exercise is to save money. I don’t know TrueCar’s numbers for the average price paid on automatics vs manuals on the Focus, but it will take 10.1 years to pay off the fuel savings of the automatic based on the MSRP for the transmission.

      Since the SFE package requires a $1,095 transmission in addition to the $495, the lesson is to skip the automatic AND the SFE package and take the manual transmission if you really want to save money.

  • avatar
    jjster6

    I thought I read some where (maybe it was a dream) that the Cruze ECO was the best value based upon what you get in the car. I don’t know the answer, just asking.

    • 0 avatar
      protomech

      http://fueleconomy.gov/feg/Find.do?action=sbs&id=30626&id=30989&id=30987&id=31315

      2011 Cruze Eco 6MT: 42.4 mpg (14 users reporting)
      2011 Cruze 1.4T 6AT: 29.7 mpg (18 users reporting)

      (there aren’t enough users with the 1.4T/MT combination or the Eco 1.4T/AT combination for a better comparison)

      EPA:
      2012 Eco 6MT: 28/42 mpg
      2012 Eco 6AT: 26/39 mpg
      2012 1.4T 6MT: 26/38 mpg
      2012 1.4T 6AT: 26/38 mpg

      Yeah, the EPA ratings are similar except for the Eco 6MT. And that seems to be the model people are buying.

    • 0 avatar
      Herm

      The Eco is supposedly 200lbs lighter than the regular model, and it offers an automatic closing grille for those that suffer from winter.

      It also loses the watts z-link in the rear so that is a disadvantage.

      • 0 avatar
        Educator(of teachers)Dan

        @supersleuth, actually no it is not. You can get the 1.4 turbo and 6 speed manual WITHOUT the ECO package. I’ve been doing some searching on Auto Trader in my area to see which dealers are stocking what and the combo does exist. Largely in the LT2 package with leather and heated seats.

        Right now I’m in a little bit of flux as to were I will be working next year and that combo has crossed my mind as an idea if I have a long commute and want to have a new car and high fuel economy at the same time. (No I would not buy an ECO or XFE or FE or whatever. I think they are gimmicky.)

  • avatar
    strafer

    Mazda 3 Skyactive should not be included, since it is just a new version of 3 sold next to old version.
    Now if they had Skyactive Eco version…

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      Another reason the Skyactiv offers an instant cost savings is it’s down 12 HP and 20 ft-lbs torque from the other, larger engine.

      You could achieve instant savings by comparing the I-4 vs the V-6 offerings of most mfrs.

    • 0 avatar
      James2

      The SkyActiv 2.0 is sold alongside the less-efficient MZR 2.0, so the inclusion is appropriate.

      Edit: since Mazda is losing money, they should pull a Chevy and reap some extra bucks.

  • avatar
    reluctantcommuter

    I’ve read that the Golf TDI suspension is more similar to the GTI than the base Golf. Option wise the GTI and TDI seem on even ground with the TDI MSRP at $340 more for a four door. The base 4-door TDI would pay its self off in about 6 months vs the base 4-door GTI, though few people are probably cross shopping those. If you compare to the Sunroof & Navigation trim the TDI is actually cheaper out the door than the GTI. If you compare it to any of the 2.5L Golf trims the features don’t really match up.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      “If you compare it to any of the 2.5L Golf trims the features don’t really match up.”

      This is my problem with VW’s pricing structure on the TDI. Base Golfs come well-equipped; more than I really need in a car. I would love a base Golf or Jetta SW with a TDI powertrain. The ~$1500 premium for the engine alone would be easily paid off. But you can’t have that. You have to bundle the TDI with expensive option packages. Ends up being $5300 more. For someone like me driving ~12k miles a year, that makes no financial sense.

      • 0 avatar
        reluctantcommuter

        I’m sure VW would have some accountant talk about how they wouldn’t sell enough de-contented Golfs for it to make sense importing them. I think it’d be more feasible do this with a Jetta since there is already a factory on our continent making the TDI, the SportWagen, and the sedan.

        I’ll be looking to put a optioned out SkyActiv 3 or Golf TDI in my garage in the next year or so. I like the torque of the diesel, but haven’t test driven the SkyActiv yet. Fuel savings would be very close (based on EPA numbers and current cost of fuel in Dallas) but the diesel takes the edge.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    To be fair, on the cruze eco, it comes with a 1.4L turbo with more torque than the standard 1.8L and a 6 speed manual. I would buy one and ditch the tires for driving fun.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    I think the graph misses the point. Its unlikely that you will see such a graph for a $5000 Mark Levinson stereo, or the extra 10 large (or more) charged for some all wheel packages that are nearly useless. Or exotic suspension systems, or the latest lighting craze.

    I think its amusing that Truecar and its ilk dont talk of the uselessness of 10,000 dollar sport seats in run of the mill cars. or exotic woods on the dashboards. Wheres the return in that? Who really cares if a car needs 20 years to make up? In the mean time, you have used less fuel. If you hate oil companies and the attitude and often repressive governments that come with it, this may be reason enough.

    People are buying $50,000 cars that have excellent driving dynamics so they can sit in traffic. So what if someone else want to spend the same 50 large sitting in traffic not making some oil company richer. I think its a good trade, and a real choice. More real then alot of other automotive at-cost add ons.

    The market is speaking, and buying up alot of these cars that “make no sense”. Much like a $200,000 Bently, or a sophistoicated 4WD SUV that will only ever climb the shopping center parking lot entrance (I’m lookinng at you, Land Rover).

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Its not a difficult concept. Even if all people who buy eco trims aren’t doing it to save gas money, SOME do. NOBODY buys a sport package or Mark Levinson stereo to save money. Those are purely personal choices that can’t be rationalized. Buying an “eco” trim of a car to save gas money is a choice that can be rationalized, but is often not analyzed very rigorously by the folks doing it. So the idea that TrueCar should be poking fun or whatever at all trim choices is absurd. What is the objective benefit of leather seats? How would you measure that payback?

      • 0 avatar
        jerseydevil

        exactly my point.

      • 0 avatar
        don1967

        What makes expensive eco-cars worth poking fun at is the fact that they are disposable, petroleum-burning products whose price was marked up in response to consumer demand, and yet people buy them to feel good about saving the planet and fighting consumerism.

        It’s like buying leather seats in support of animal rights. If that sort of thing ain’t hysterically funny then I don’t know what is.

  • avatar
    grzydj

    Somebody make a fancy chart that shows me how much time I’m going to save getting places by opting for the V6(8) or the turbo model instead of the lowly 4.

    Supplement that with how much money I’m going to lose with the decrease fuel economy. I like pie charts.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Actually I’d love for someone to make a a graph for fuel economy at a fairly constant 85 to 90 mph which is what I like to drive on the interstate. Show me how a V6 Charger goes against a V8 Charger or a 4cyl version of a mid size family sedan against a V6 version of the same sedan at that speed. THAT would be useful information.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        At those speeds, you probably care a lot about aerodynamic drag and the engine is a secondary consideration (as long as it’s capable of reaching 85mph without blowing up).

      • 0 avatar
        darkwing

        Not necessarily — if the V8 has enough low-end power to turn slower in top gear than the V6 at that speed, you might get better economy that way. (But I agree that drag is going to be the major design factor there.)

      • 0 avatar
        texan01

        I can tell you that a 1995 Ford Explorer 4.0 V6/automatic at a sustained 90mph gets 17mpg, and same vehicle at 65mph gets 22, and at 55 gets 29mpg. 70-85 it gets right at 20mpg. it’s EPA rated at 15/20

        But at speeds over 90, it gets to be using all the throttle, and Ford runs it extremely rich at 3/4 throttle on out to WOT to keep detonation down.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    All jokes aside, single gas mileage numebrs are kind of useless. It would make more sense for manufacturers to provide graphs showing throttle vs speed vs gas mileage, with some mathematically derived averages. A lot of cars are designed to milk the EPA tests, which in some ways compromises real world drivability.

  • avatar
    redav

    Where have I seen this before?

    Oh, that’s right, BS posted the same thing last week or so.

    Well, I guess I have to reply with the same comment:

    STOP reporting this in terms of YEARS to break-even. Use MILES to break-even.

  • avatar
    otaku

    “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.”

    What about comparing the base 2.0L Mazda3 sedan against the 2.0L SkyActiv sedan equivalent (if Mazda even sells them that way)? Wouldn’t that make the SkyActive version significantly more expensive? If so, how long would it take to recover the extra cost?

    As long as we’re on the subject of Mazda’s SkyActiv, shouldn’t there also be a chart that demonstrates how much worse its fuel economy would be if a customer ever decided to drive it somewhere cold, possibly in the winter, with snow tires? According to a couple of the reviews on this site, under such conditions, one should expect gas mileage to drop below the optimistic EPA estimates. How much longer in terms of years/miles/whatever would customers in colder climates then require to recover the added expense of their original purchase?

    Maybe there should be some type of bar graph comparing new fuel efficient vehicles versus slightly used and less expensive equivalent models. Never mind…

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      It is reasonable to expect the non-SkyActiv to perform equally poorly with snow tires, etc.

      Also, the 2.0L non-SkyActiv does not come on any comparable trims as the SkyActiv, so the price difference includes fewer bells & whistles. You could use TrueDelta to normalize the price, though.

  • avatar
    chicagoland

    Who pays full MSRP? Who still drives only 15,000 a year? I’d rather read a true story about cost of ownership, instead of biased propaganda.

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