By on March 8, 2019

FCA

The EPA’s annual fuel economy report showed a continued slow climb in the number of miles an average vehicle can travel on a gallon of gas, with 2018’s fleetwide figure expected to come in at 25.4 mpg. Weighted for sales, the picture might not be as rosy, as moar light trucks and fewer cars conspire to ensure real-world stasis.

But one man’s stable is not a fleet, so let’s judge our actions on an individual basis. How efficient is your current vehicle compared to your first?

Yours truly will go first, so prepare yourselves for some staid economy action. My first vehicle was the oft-mentioned base 2.2-liter Sundance with a gigantic fuel gauge standing in place of a tachometer. That gauge, ahem, wouldn’t have served much use.

The grandfather clock-sized fuel indicator did, however, alert young Steph to the fact that his small green coupe rarely achieved its EPA ambitions, regardless of driving style. For some time, sticky valves and a catalytic convertor that longed to star in The China Syndrome kept average gas mileage in the sub-20 mpg range. Combined EPA rating for a base, stick-shift ’93 model? 26 mpg. After fixing the aforementioned issues and achieving the promised economy, I pawned it off on a coworker and swore off Chrysler Corp for good. The fuel pump died a week later.

Should’ve saved up for a Duster!

Fast-forward 19 years and Cruze, Version 2.0 sits in the driveway. Too bad it’s not a Ram Rebel. Oh well. Anyhoo, a stick-shift 2018 Cruze rates a 32 mpg combined figure, meaning I’ve achieved an on-paper increase of 8 mpg between first car and last. Along the way, this writer’s cheap economy car added 60 hp and 55 lb-ft of torque. Curb weight rose from 2,608 pounds to 2,842 pounds.

That’s my entry-level story — what’s yours?

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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103 Comments on “QOTD: Making Progress at the Pump?...”


  • avatar
    Vulpine

    I can have a little fun with this. I won’t name my first car’s model but I will say it was a 1964 Chevy with two-speed powerglide transmission making roughly 15mpg on the highway. 25 years later I owned a 1996 Camaro capable of 32mpg with more than double the horsepower. Since then I’ve been on a bit of a backslide as my wife’s current car (Jeep Renegade, so not actually a car) pushes 28+ and my pickup has achieved just shy of 25 on the highway (though only has a little over 2K miles and no really long highway runs as yet.) Will admit I had one car (truly) that achieved 40 on the highway without being a hybrid, but that got traded for the Renegade as the wife needed something a little bit bigger and at least some form of 4×4/AWD for winter driving.

    Oh, HER first car was that 40mpg Fiat 500, so without going BEV there’s almost no way she’d be able to double her first car’s mileage.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      All this EPA MPG is a waste of time. Every morning I see bunch of parents idling their car 20 min while their children wait for bus. Then at lunch, I see people idling their cars while sleeping, eating or reading.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        The desires of a few don’t override the needs of the many. As you said yourself, you see ‘a bunch’ doing this, but not all or even most. And in wintertime I’m not at all surprised. As the season warms up, they will stop idling their cars. Meanwhile, with high mileage capability, their idle doesn’t use as much fuel as it did in those older cars.

        • 0 avatar
          boozysmurf

          Much as I don’t think @slavuta and I would agree on much else, politically or socially, he’s dead right.

          There’s a culture of waste at the moment that is bordering on horrific.

          I see people at work who want some quiet time at lunch who, in winter, go out and sit in their (pre-warmed via auto starter) cars for 40 minutes – that’s easily an hour of 0mpg/infiniteL/100km. These same people want that same privacy at lunch in the summer, and guess what? They pre-cool their cars and then sit in them, idling, in the A/C for 40 minutes. They hit the auto-starter from the office window an HOUR before they go home in the evening, so that it’s a balmy 26oC inside in the winter, and -3oC with the A/C in the summer.

          The same people blame their “crappy car” for its “lousy mileage”.

          And there’s a lot of them. Like, easily going on 50% of drivers aren’t actually drivers, they’re commuters, and they want maximum comfort, no matter the financial or environmental cost.

          And while I am 100% a “greenie”, I currently have a ’16 F150 4×4 5.0L and ’10 Genesis Coupe 2.0T. HOWEVER, I don’t commute in them, generally. I bike and walk (it’s 8km/5miles to work. takes about 20 minutes to bike, or 45 to walk, each way). That’s why that 10 year old Genesis has only 94,000km on it, and the three year old truck only has 31,000km on it (60k & 20k miles, respectively). I don’t idle to warm the truck in the winter, I use a block heater, idle for 60 seconds to get the (pre-warmed) oil moving, and drive it warm. Amazingly, my kid of 18 months doesn’t freeze to death in the 3-4 minutes of driving time before the heat comes up.

          So, yeah, Slavuta is right. There’s a culture of laziness and waste (not limited to automotive use, honestly) that has to change first, and changing people is WAY harder than changing technology.

          I mean, we’ve doubled and tripled horsepower in the last twenty years or so, but only a 1 or 2 mpg increase? There’s a level of inefficiency and inequality of technology there that’s hard to deny.

          As always, people are the problem, primarily, although given that power = efficiency, for the most part, we’re falling down on the efficiency side of the ICE, in favour of power. And don’t get me wrong, I LIKE power, BUT a balance would be nice. I’d be happy seeing 500hp hellcats instead of 700hp ones, if they got 30mpg instead of 20mpg. And that’s likely achievable IF we serve notice that that’s what we want.

          • 0 avatar
            jatz

            “As always, people are the problem”

            I’ve already ordered another nice, big temperate zone continent with only a light dusting of pre-tech, killable indigenes.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            I’m not arguing that there’s some few who do this, BoozyS; I’m saying there’s not as many as you think. Oh, I do like the fact that you exaggerate for effect; I’m sure you know the remote start only keeps your car running for 15-20 minutes before shutting off again and some of the newer ones only permit you to do it twice before requiring you (or at least your key fob) in the car before starting again. Not that it changes your point but accuracy is important.

            Much of the rest of your argument is illogical. When you think about efficiency you could either keep the same horsepower and get notably better mileage OR… get more horses per mile. The typical American wants the horses, not the miles. Of course, more horses can mean more miles–if you just stop flogging them horses. The harder they work, the more they need to ‘eat’ to perform that work.

  • avatar
    Jon

    1977 K10 – what’s MPG?
    2010 Camry (sigh) = 28.45878 MPG

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Hey, as a kid I had a grocery-store co-worker who boasted (Boasted!) 5mpg.

      • 0 avatar
        Jon

        my current K30 is a zero emissions vehicle!

        • 0 avatar
          twotone

          No such thing as a “zero emissions vehicle.” Your tail pipe is just some where else — the nuclear power plant, gas fired generator, etc. Even manufacturing solar panels causes emissions.

          Also, no “zero emissions” materials or manufacturing — they both cause emissions. Rare earth elements out of China are particularly nasty for the environment and people mining them.

          Need to look at the overall life-cycle emissions, not just the daily drive.

          My 1998 BMW 328i sedan, manual still delivers 32 highway MPG with 175,000 on the odo.

          my current K30 is a zero emissions vehicle!

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            The overall life cycle emissions of a modern BEV is 25% less than the best non-plug-in hybrid of the same size and class while it is 50% less than the best non-hybrid–AFTER taking power plant emissions into account. Even cradle to grave, the difference stands because over its lifetime, the higher ‘up front’ emissions are quickly overcome and the reduced need for petroleum-based fluids eliminates much of the manufacturing emissions of those fluids for those vehicles.
            https://www.ucsusa.org/sites/default/files/attach/2015/11/Cleaner-Cars-from-Cradle-to-Grave-full-report.pdf

            Oh, that zero-emissions K30? Wanna bet it’s zero emissions because it doesn’t run?

          • 0 avatar
            RHD

            My neighbor has a K5 that is zero emissions… because it hasn’t run for years.

  • avatar
    tomLU86

    Let’s see. Currently, I drive a 2014 Regal Turbo. I average about 23 mpg and have driven less than 10k per year for the past 2 years.

    Before I had a 2011 Malibu that averaged over 27 mpg, and I averaged about 16k per year.

    So I’m using less fuel, even with a thirstier car.

    However, looking back over my car-owning life time, the mid-80s to mid-90s were my most fuel efficient. I had a 86 VW GTI that averaged almost 29 mpg, and briefly, a 95 Saturn SL2 that averaged 28. After that, my cars were thirstier–but I’ve never owned a gas guzzler. I did drive a 2008 Chevy pick-up for work for about year, and it averaged 17mpg–but most of it was on interstate (19-20mpg).

    On the interstate, the Malibu was a little more efficient than the GTI. 32-35 mpg at 65-80mph. The GTI managed 32-33 mpg at 65-70 (but this was in the 55mph era–at 55-60 mph, the GTI was at 36-37 mpg). THe Malibu is all the more impressive considering how much larger and heavier (34-3500 vs 2200 lbs).

    But, in ‘local’ driving, all that bulk needs energy, and even a more modern, efficient engine can’t make up for it; the GTI trounced the Malibu, getting 26-28 vs 21-24. Not to mention being more entertaining.

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    The car in the photo is identical to one that a buddy of mine owned back in the 1990’s. Joke if you will about Dodge Shadows and Plymouth Sundances, but that little Duster, with its 3 liter V6 and 5 speed manual, was a BLAST to drive. I’ve always regretted not getting one for myself.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      Oh absolutely, I was looking at the photo and thinking “damn, those were neat cars”

      • 0 avatar
        Russycle

        Yeah, very clean little design.

        • 0 avatar
          Featherston

          Count me as a Shadow apologist, and I’m neither a Mopar zealot nor a Mopar basher.

          I liked the way these were packaged, especially when viewed in context of today’s disappearing greenhouses.

          My parents bought one as a second car once my brother and I were both old enough to drive ourselves to summer jobs, and it served us well from new to five years old. We had only two “Doh! Chrysler!” issues:
          – Rear-view mirror fell down around two or three years of age. Our indie mechanic simply re-mounted it with what was apparently a better quality adhesive than the factory used.
          – Heat went out at four years of age. Same mechanic diagnosed it as a thermostat that was like a $16 part at the time. (Stupidly, we had suffered through about seven weeks of winter with no heat, not realizing it was a cheap and easy fix.)

          Pros:
          – the aforementioned packaging
          – body & interior both held up nicely over the course of five years, even if they didn’t seem high-end.
          – low out-the-door price. Dad didn’t talk money in that era, but a Civic or Corolla would not have had the same cash on the hood.
          – the “wow, that seems odd in retrospect” 2.5/3A combo was trouble-free, and Chrysler’s leveraging of Mitsubishi’s balance shaft know-how meant it was pretty benign in terms of NVH unless you really revved it. I have no experience with the non-balance-shaft-equipped 2.2.
          – maybe just dumb luck, but ours was well assembled. It wasn’t solid in the sense of a contemporary German car or tight like a contemporary Japanese car, but everything was present, aligned correctly, and rattle-free. Definitely better than the 1970s cars I remember.

          Cons:
          – Peppiness/thriftiness quotient was pretty poor, even by the standards of the time: https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/noframes/6667.shtml. I wish I had tracked fuel economy back then; I’m curious as to what we were getting. As a sort of perverse defense, I’ll note that the 100 hp/136 lb-ft nature of the engine meant that the car didn’t care too much if you were carrying passengers. With some other cheap & cheerful cars, I find them peppy *until* passengers enter the equation.
          – The aforementioned ankle biter issues.

          We sold it to family friends, whose sons literally never changed the oil, which did cause engine failure after a few years. No telling how long it would have lasted or not lasted under our stewardship.

    • 0 avatar
      FThorn

      I LOVE the Shadow. That was my first and only car that I bought on a credit card. 1993. The V6 plus manual was fantastic. This car is the perfect proportions in my opinion. I loved mine.

  • avatar
    threeer

    First car: 1978 Plymouth Arrow GT. I was 18. Who cared about MPG?
    Current: 2017 Cruze HB: Spent so much time in the shop, I’ve not even had time to calculate or care about MPG…just want the damn thing to run!

    But seriously, I’d assume that if I plotted it, I’d be seeing an increase in overall mileage. It’d be interesting to plot this against the increased weight of cars over that time period, as well.

    • 0 avatar
      285exp

      My first car was a new 1976 Plymouth Arrow 160, 4 speed manual 1.6 liter, 77 hp, curb weight 2000 lbs. 0-60 time according to the magazine tests at the time was 11.7 sec. The EPA rating was 26/39/31. Being that this was my first car, I was totally uninterested in the fuel economy and did my absolute best to minimize it, and I’d be lying if I told you I knew exactly what it was.

      Somebody rear ended me after about a year and destroyed it, which I then replaced with a 1977 Arrow GS 2.0 liter 5 speed, 2200 lbs 90 hp, 0-60 around 10.0 sec. EPA rating was 20/33/24. Again, I didn’t worry much about mileage on that one either, but I took it on a trip across the country, and it got about 27 mpg highway, and it seems that it got around 20 mpg in normal combined driving. The most recent car I had was a 1997 Lexus ES300, bought new, 3.0 liter, 200 hp, curb weight 3300 lbs, magazine tests had 0-60 of around 7.9 sec, EPA rated 17/24/19. My wife and daughter primarily drove it until they passed it on to me. I kept very good records on that one, and highway mileage was around 28, city was probably high teens, I drove very few tankfuls that were city only, and over the last 7 years of its life, around 65k miles, it averaged a combined 21.1 mpg.

      Last year some idiot ran into the back of it too, and totaled it. There seems to be a pattern here. Now I’m daily driving my 2001 F250 Crew Cab 4WD V10, 310 hp, curb weight 6100 lbs. No EPA rating, but over the past 10 years that I’ve been keeping records, it gets around 13 mpg highway, 11.5 combined mileage over the last 67k miles.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Just daring them to rear-end you again, aren’t you?

        • 0 avatar
          285exp

          At least if they hit this one, they’re likely to be the ones coming out worst.

        • 0 avatar
          285exp

          And I had this truck only about a week when some tatted and gauged up dude in a Civic that had been rice rocketed to the max switched lanes without looking and slammed into the side of it. His car left behind a tow truck, you can still barely see where he hit the side of the truck.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            That’s some more luck you have there, exp. Do I want to know where you live? I think I want to avoid it if I can.

          • 0 avatar
            285exp

            That would be wise Vulpine, I don’t have enough room in the driveway for more than 2 cars so, until that one was culled, one always had to be parked on the street in front of my house. It’s a fairly quiet residential neighborhood, so not a lot of traffic. The Lexus was parked out front when the idiot, who appeared to be a woman of negotiable affection, ran into the back of it and totaled her car and mine. I think cell phone usage was involved. No insurance, of course. About 12 years ago, that same car was parked in that same place, and someone sideswiped it, and didn’t bother to stop. A few years before that, a limb that weighed a couple of hundred lbs fell off an oak tree in my yard and landed on the roof of that same Lexus. And lest you think that it was just that car that was jinxed, the 2004 ES330 that I bought for my wife after the tree limb attacked the other one, was rear-ended by one of the local crackheads who apparently was being followed by a police car and was busy looking in his mirror instead of out the windshield. You can guess whether he was insured or not.

            On the other hand, if you’re looking to get a new car, I can sure help get rid of your current one.

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            Good grief! Your insurance agent must lose their lunch when your name appears on their Caller ID!

  • avatar
    tomLU86

    2011 Malibu–I logged every fill-up, from new to 101,xxx. 27.50 mpg.

    Camry beat it…darn! But very impressive–I liked that generation of Camry.

  • avatar
    ajla

    ’91 Grand AM 2.3L 5M
    -24 MPG on premium (don’t remember what I actually got).
    -160hp/155lb-ft
    – ~2600 lbs

    ’18 Stinger RWD 3.3T 8A
    – 21 MPG on premium (I’m calculating 20.8 avg real world)
    – 365hp/376lb-ft
    – ~4000 lbs

    That Grand AM is the only running 4-cylinder I ever owned (thanks Triumph) and I’d believe it’s my highest MPG rating as well. Basically everything I’ve ever owned has got 19-20 real world. Except for my Diplomat, which got in the 15s.

    • 0 avatar
      thelaine

      As soon as I started making enough money to avoid driving economical shtboxes that got good mileage, I started buying trucks. One of my typical poverty years cars was a 1979(?) Dodge Colt (rebadged Mitsubishi) that got decent mileage. I used to put gas in it by seeing how much money I had, rather than how much gas it needed. I don’t miss those days.

      My current truck gets 10-12 MPG when I am towing and 10-12 MPG when I am not towing. I don’t let the tank get near empty and fill it to the top every time. Life is good. Hydrocarbons are awesome.

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    My first car was an 81 Regal V6 in 1994. I wasn’t too concerned with MPG, but it didn’t do much better than about 15 mpg with my young lead foot mostly city driving and the fact it couldn’t get out of its own way anyhow.

    My ’17 Golf 1.8T has 60 more hp, nearly the same torque, probably weighs nearly the same adjusting for safety stuff. 5 speed manual vs 3 speed auto, but the VW gives about 28 mpg average with nearly a 50/50 split of highway/city, accounting for my old lead foot and the hills of western PA. When I’ve had it in the flatlands, it returns a solid 30-31 mpg city and I’ve seen as high as 39 mpg highway at sedate speeds. But I can set the cruise for 80 mph on the PA turnpike in light traffic and not have to shift at all for the hills.

    Our Sienna has 296hp and averages 15 mpg mostly in town. But it can hold a family and a bunch of stuff, compared to my old “personal coupe”. And it will out accelerate anything I’ve owned. It will still give the stock 89 Mustang GT convertible I’m buying a run for its money in a straight line. The Mustang is rated at 225 hp and 15 city/22 highway.

    300hp minivan but still only 15 mpg might not be progress, but its more fun. My old school gearhead uncle loves his 392 Challenger. “It’s all the power I had in my youth, but I can drive it anywhere comfortably. And it’ll get 25mpg if I can keep my foot out of it.”

  • avatar
    LeMansteve

    If you follow the EPA numbers, I took continuous backslides on combined MPG until now.

    EPA combined fuel economy

    1993 Honda del Sol Si 5 speed: 27
    1995 Acura 2.2 CL 5 speed: 24
    2004 BMW 330i 6 speed: 21
    2017 Mazda6 6 speed: 28

    I never did formal calculations with the Honda or Acura, but I think they averaged a little better than the EPA combined rating. Real world calculated MPG for the BMW was about 27, and it’s right at 29.5 for the Mazda.

    I feel like the Mazda will be my last ICE car. When it comes time to retire it in 6-8 years, I expect equivalently-sized EVs to be far more practical and affordable than they are today.

    My wife’s V6 Santa Fe will be replaced in the next 1-2 years. She drives the family hauler and likely has 1 more ICE replacement before larger EVs become practical.

    When looking at the EPA combined rating of her cars, it’s pretty flat over the years:

    1990 Ford Taurus 3.0 auto: 21
    2000 Nissan Altima auto: 21
    2004 VW Passat 1.8T auto: 22
    2011 Hyundai Santa Fe 3.5L FWD auto: 22

  • avatar
    tomLU86

    I will say, the sub 2.0 liter 4-cylinders are more efficient.

    Using the period EPA ratings vs real world:

    86 GTI 8v: 1781cc 2150 lbs 102 hp 26/31 EPA, 28-29 overall, 33 hwy

    87 GTI 16V: 1781 cc 2200 lbs 123 hp, 22/29 EPA. Never owned one

    91 BMW 318is: 1766 cc, 134 hp, 2666 lb, 22/27 EPA. 25 overall, but LOTS of highway at 30mpg

    Those EPA ratings would be lower today. All of the above cars are lighter than today, but today’s 4-cylinders put out more power and use less fuel.

    Even this boosted motor from 2005 does better than the BMW did…

    2006 Cobalt SS Supercharged, 2.0 liter, 205 hp, 2900 lbs, 26 mpg, 32 highway (at higher speeds than other cars)

    The V6s, I’m not so sure. GM’s 3.6 V6 has 100 more hp than the old 3800, but the 3800 by the late 90s put out 200 hp, a lot of low end torque, and was good for 30mpg highay, 20-23 in town. The 3.6 rentals I’ve had don’t seem to do better.

  • avatar
    tylanner

    The ratios are what I care about..

    Namely HP/MPG or 0-60/mpg.

    We’ve got options today that really highlight how differently we are approaching consumer vehicles….Honda Accord Hybrid EX 47mpg 7.4s 0-60, Miata 34mpg 6.7s 0-60.

    The one ratio that might be not so great is 0-60/mpg/$

  • avatar
    tomLU86

    I’m with ty. I like mpg / 0-60, but same idea.

  • avatar
    jimmy2x

    My first car was a 1965 Thunderbird purchased used in 1971. Powered by a 390 V8 that got about 10 MPG. Didn’t care. Crossed Texas on I-20 at about 90 mph enroute to CA from Pensacola. Good times.
    Presently a 2010 ES with about 85,000 miles. Runs flawlessly, and at 73 years old just may well hang on to it for the duration.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    1978 Olds “Delta 88” in 1985, yes the infamous 5.7 diesel, and actually really reliable, but rolled coal, even at idle. Good times in that car. I’m not sure what mpg I got, but I didn’t care, diesel was like 85 cents or something. Probably similar to the 15 mpg in the refuses to die 4.6 V8 F-150 I have now.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    My first car was a ’94 Grand Prix 3100.

    It got about 22 mpg in mixed driving, making 160 hp and weighing in at 3350-3400 lb.

    Today I can choose to drive a Dodge Viper that weighs the same, has almost exactly 4 times the power, and gets about 17 mpg in mixed driving, or a Fiesta with 125 hp and 800 lb less curb weight, that gets 41 mpg.

    I consider that progress.

  • avatar
    Steve Biro

    1974 Ford Pinto – roughly 25mpg average with not much more beyond that.
    2015 Subaru Forester – roughly 25mpg average – with the potential for 30+ on long highway trips and even just touching 40mpg under extremely rare circumstances.

  • avatar
    SSJeep

    Worst was a mid-90s Suburban 2500 that was at maybe 10-11MPG. Current new Grand Cherokee is at 19MPG real world. I also own a Leaf which is measured at like 109MPGe.

  • avatar

    Well lets see first car was a 88 Ramcharger I still have average MPG was around 13. Interestingly driving back and forth to school (about 450 miles)I could pull just over 15 MPG thanks to 3.20 gearset, lockup torque converter and first year EFI.
    Current car is a 300M averge’s 21 MPG can do 26 on the highway on a trip.
    Most efficient was a Eagle summit (Mitsubishi Mirage) which averaged 34-35 MPG on my long commute at the time (110 miles a day). Around town it dropped to around 28 mpg.
    On comparison my 2000 Durango in mixed commuting will get 16 mpg, but with my wife normally never leaving our small city/large town it averages 13 mpg.
    Interestingly most of my cars have gotten right around 20-21MPG including
    300M
    Toyota pickup
    XJ Cherokee
    Outback 3.6
    Volvo XC70
    Plymouth Voyager

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      Mopar 360…run forever but loves gas

      • 0 avatar

        It’s 318 but yeah LA block same engine family. 88 was the first year for throttle body EFI. In 93 there started changing over to the Magnum 318 (5.2) lots more power.
        In my experience for the late 80’s and early 90’s V8 the Mopar ones were middle ground with Ford tending a bit worse and GM a bit higher. The Ford 300 6 was pretty efficient thou.

  • avatar
    cbrworm

    My first car? I don’t remember exactly, but I think it got around ~17 MPG on the highway – with about 100HP and a top speed of 83MPH.

    In the late 80’s and early 90’s, I achieved my best gas mileage. The Olds Touring Sedan would return a solid 26-28 mpg on highway trips. My next car did slightly better – both were around 165HP if I remember correctly.

    Today, my daily drivers get 16.7 and 18.4 combined and ~17 and 22MPG highway like clockwork. My wife’s car does ~24MPG combined on her normal commute. All of these are big 300+ HP vehicles. One a V8, one a turbo 6 and one an NA V6

    So, my mileage is not at an all-time high, but performance per gallon is the best I have ever had.

    My two low MPG cars are both 13 years old, so not exactly modern technology.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Holy sh*t, did you have a new Olds Touring Sedan?

      • 0 avatar
        cbrworm

        I did, it was an ’89 in White. It was my first new American car in a while. It was really a solid car that performed well. TBH, my favorite parts of that car were how flat it remained while cornering, the brakes, and the gauge package. The Touring Sedan needed a number of mostly minor repairs before the 3 year, 45K mile mark, and at that point, the leather seats were showing wear despite religious maintenance. The dealer experience was good but I was not convinced that the car would be reliable long term. Obviously, we now know that it would have likely soldiered on until the end of time. I had been driving Toyotas for a few years at that point that needed no additional service aside from brakes, oil, and tires. I ended up trading it in on a ’92 LS400. I was both thrilled with the technical advances in every aspect of the Lexus and bored by driving it.

        My favorite parts of the Lexus, ironically, were the gauge package, and that you could not feel it shift at WOT at redline. It did not remain flat or composed while cornering.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          Jeez, you got to buy a new OTS and a new 1st Gen LS400?

          You had a good run going.

        • 0 avatar
          Featherston

          +1 to this exchange. My three experiences with the Wedge Era of C- and H-bodies were positive, so it’s cool to hear from someone who actually owned an Oldsmobile Touring Sedan. Disappointing to hear about the seats, which as I recall were a signature feature of the car.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    1987 Ford Escort GT, EPA rated it at 25 combined, with the updated ratings.

    Although I own other vehicles, my daily driver is the Taurus, so…

    1995 Ford Taurus 3.0L, EPA rated it at 21 combined, again with the updated ratings.

    In real life, I get more than 21 MPG out of the Taurus more often than not. The lowest I’ve called was 20.5 mpg.

    I never calculated the MPG on the Escort, as it was a hand-me-down that I drove before I had a license in the small rural community we lived in. It survived on $5/worth of gas at a time, and due to my brother damaging the linkage, only first, third and fifth worked. Sometimes I could get it into 2nd, and I was the only family member who could get it into reverse. I sold it for $150 to a friend I worked with so he could fix it up for his daughter.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      *calculated, not “called”, lost the edit window before I noticed. YOU’VE SCREWED ME AGAIN, AUTOCORRECT!

      Oh, and just to avoid confusion, the Taurus’ 3.0L is the OHV version, not the SHO, or later Duratec.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    1982 Chevy Celebrity – Iron Duke and THM125 three speed auto with lockup torque converter.

    I often calculated fuel economy over a tank full using the old back of the envelope calculation (I have NO Idea what the EPA rating was.) I usually got about 29 mpg in almost completely highway driving. This was back in the 55 mph era and I usually set the cruise at 60 mph.

    Current ride 2010 Highlander, 3.5 V6, 5 speed auto, 4wd constant 50/50 torque split unless wheel slippage detected. Lucky to get 22 mpg on an average tank full, usually more like 21.something. Once got 25 mpg on a single tank full but it was 300 plus miles of mostly downhill with the cruise set at 75 mph.

    My goal for my next vehicle is 25 mpg EPA rating or greater. I like to drive long distances but hate to stop constantly for gasoline.

    Tangentially related. Am I the only one who thinks gas tanks are too damn small? My Highlander has roughly a 18 gallon tank and I’ve noticed that’s just about the biggest tanks you find in non BOF vehicles. Talk about “range anxiety” I’d be much happier with a 25 gallon tank and closer to 400 miles on a tankful.

    • 0 avatar

      Tank size is annoying It never bothered me much when I was younger for some reason but now the fact I can’t go a week on a tank drives me nuts. My 300says it has a 17 gallon tank but has never taken more then 13 gallons.

      My Ramcharger had a 35 gallon tank which allowed for over 450 miles. Which I used a few times driving home from school at night.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Not bad out of the Celebrity with a 3 speed.

      You know what’s funny? My Tempo with the 3.0L and 3 speed got better mileage than the 4 cylinder/3 speeds I’ve owned. It once hit a high of 35 MPG on a trip to Texas, it was in tiptop running condition, but I wasn’t exactly hypermiling. Surprised me.

      My manual Tempos always got great mpg. The 3 speed really sucked the fun and the gasahol outta the 4 cylinder.

    • 0 avatar
      jack4x

      Yeah 18 gallons on a vehicle that size is pretty bad. Apart from specialty vehicles where they are severely limited by space concerns (the Viper has a 16 gallon tank, which is sometimes sub 200 mile range if I’m driving hard), I think 400 miles is a reasonable range target for most vehicles.

      My F350 has a 48 gallon tank, which is awesome for range when towing, but annoying when you need to swipe the credit card a second time. Some of the diesel guys claim a 1000 mile highway range when not towing.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        As an example. I like the design of the Ford Flex but it get’s the same fuel economy of my Highlander and has a 18.6 gallon tank. No bueno. Dad’s not doing roughly 340 miles before the “low fuel” light comes on after having that experience for the last 5 years.

    • 0 avatar
      Blackcloud_9

      I agree that achieving 400 mile on a tank (in whatever configuration) seems to be more rare these days. Most of my current/past cars seem to hover in the 300 range

      2014 Kia Soul 14 gal. tank (12-13 on a refill) 25-27 mpg mixed driving ~ 300 -310 mi. range
      2017 Buick Lacrosse 16 gal. tank (13-14 on a refill) 24-26 mpg mixed driving ~ 310-320 mi. range
      2018 Chevy Volt 9 gal. tank (8 on a refill). Full charge and one tank = 315-330 mi. range.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      Yes cars need bigger tanks, it’s nice being in a truck with a 28+ gallon tank, getting into something like my SS with a tiny sub 20 gallon tank is frustrating when your messing around.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        We could say this is part of the conspiracy to get us to all buy 1/2 ton crew cab pickup trucks with the optional large tanks (usually about 36 gallons.)

        • 0 avatar
          Dan

          Truck tanks are getting smaller too.

          Ford’s small tank used to be 26 gallons and the LWB trucks came with the big tank standard. In 2015 the standard tank was reduced to 23 and the big tank was made a $500 upcharge.

          GM never had a larger tank and shrank their standard tank from 26 to 24 gallons on the newest models.

          Ram hasn’t shrunk theirs yet but they did start copying Ford with the $450 upcharge.

          • 0 avatar
            ToolGuy

            Dan,

            Agreed on fuel tank size.

            Ironically some of the worst offenders are ‘economy’ cars – if you get over 30 mpg but only have an ~11 gallon tank (1-2 gallons of which you’re probably not going to dip into), that ain’t great range.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    I’ve roughly been progressing upwards, starting with a ’95 Chrysler Intrepid (3.5L, EPA average 19mpg, but real world was more like 22-23 since I lived in a suburban-rural area), to a ’14 Mazda2 (EPA average 31mpg, my lifetime average is 30.6). That said, the Mazda isn’t the absolute efficiency champ – under highway conditions, my ’10 Civic was better, and even my ’97 Cavalier could hit 35mpg more consistently. That said, I was also doing much more highway driving in the Civic and Cavalier.

    I also had a ’90 F150 that, well, the less said about that, the better.

  • avatar
    Blackcloud_9

    My first car was a 1969 VW Fastback with fuel injection and (Gasp) an automatic trans. I never calculated mpg in that car but it didn’t seem terribly efficient (and it was broken a lot).

    My first new car – right after the VW – was a 1981 Dodge Colt. Much more efficient. Achieved 41 mpg on a trip from SoCal to Vegas. But the car was econo-penalty-box in almost every sense of the term. No A/C no power anything.

    My current car is a 2017 Buick Lacrosse with the V-6. So yes, its less efficient than the Colt. But considering the Lacrosse has just about every option Buick could throw at it and has 4.63 times (I did the math. 310 hp vs. 67 hp) the power of the Colt, I’m not worried. The Lacrosse is about 90% as efficient as the car I traded in for it – 2014 Kia Soul. I’m averaging 26.5 mpg per tank on a 65/35 highway/city driving mix.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      You know, if you factor in weight and power, as you did, I’d say the Buick is more efficient than the Dodgubishi Colt. Yes, the actual MPG figure is lower, but considering what it’s working with, it is more efficient.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    First car I ever bought was a ’85 Civic, and my current car’s an Audi A3. Civic is the obvious winner. I’m getting around 24 mpg in a mix of suburban / freeway driving, which isn’t awful. I’m sure I’d do better if I wasn’t having so much damn fun.

  • avatar
    deanst

    I’ve never calculated mpg of my cars and doubt I ever will. While I guess it satisfies some curiosity, I just don’t see the point.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    Then: 1965 Mustang –around 12mpg city/15 highway

    Now: Lexus ES350 —-around 23mpg city/30 highway
    Lexus GX460 —around 15mpg city/21 highway

    And both Lexus would blow the doors off the Mustang.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      My first was a 65 Mustang too, but I could get 20 mpg hwy. My dad’s 72 Suburban could manage 15 hwy.

      1965 Mustange 289 2bbl V8, 200 HP, 2600 lbs, 20 mpg highway
      2008 Scion xB, 2.4L I4, 158 HP, 3000 lbs, 29 mpg highway

      Been a long time, but I don’t recall the Mustang feeling much faster than the xB. And those 4-wheel drums almost killed me a couple times.

  • avatar
    Add Lightness

    First vehicle – 1969 Econoline 302 auto @ 10 MPIG
    Current vehicle – 2000 Honda Insight MT @ 75 MPIG
    Improvement – 7.5x

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I’ve made a lot of progress at the pump since I retired! Going from a fill up every 3 1/2 days to at least every 10 days is great at only 18.7 mpg putting around town on surface streets for short distances!

    I filled up Wednesday, which is great since my last fill up in late January… Due to not driving because of my eye problem. This will change real quick, because I am driving again, so back to every 10 days or so!

    Previously, when I worked, my Impala averaged around 28-30 mpg on my awful commute.

    Wifey’s 2015 CR-V is better than the old 2002 model. Although she only travels less than 10 miles round trip to and from work, she averages about 25 mpg compared to 21-22 in the old CR-V.

    Progress of a sort, I suppose!

  • avatar
    bullnuke

    1960 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88 4-dr sedan
    371 cu-in, 2-bbl carb, Hydromatic
    8 mpg city/11 mpg highway
    1 to 2 US Qt. 30w oil/250 miles (or, as determined by chattering valve lifters)

    2014 Subau Outback 2.5i
    2.5L FB25 w/EFI, 6-MT
    25 mpg city/31 mpg highway
    1 US Qt. 0w-20w oil/4200 miles

    I actually tripled my gas mileage in 1969 when I sold the Olds for a:
    ’61 Renault Gordini
    1.1L , 1-bbl, 4-MT
    23 mpg city/ 30 mpg highway
    1 US Qt. 30w oil/1200 miles

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    ’74 Malibu 350/2bbl/THM350/2.73 axle: around 12 in town, gentle on the highway, 17.

    ’08 Prius: 52 around town, 48 ish highway.

    Do I win something?

  • avatar
    Truckducken

    First new car: 1984 Cavalier, 2.0L/5-spd manual IIRC. About 27mpg in mixed driving.
    Now: 2016 Optima, 2.4L/hybrid, mid-30’s. Pretty good progress…about 2.3x the power and 3x the torque, despite at least 1000 lbs more bulk, and without all the rattles of the prior era.

  • avatar
    redgolf

    going back a little, it was my 1st, a 55 Buick Century V8( that’s it shown) bought it in 66 for the amazing price of $150 (cash car), I was 16 going on 17, back then gas was so cheap we didn’t calculate mpg, who cared? gas was 17 cents to 25 cent/gal. I was making $40-$50 a week working in a grocery store and still in high school. I was one of a few that even had a car let alone a job! My first ticket ( I remember it dearly) was in front of my high school, at a stop sign, I revved it up in neutral and dropped it into drive squealing the tires and drawing a lot of attention from all the kids that were walking, when behind me flashing lights and siren. After pulling up right in front of the main school parking lot preceded to get my first and well deserved ticket, It was written up as – “Excessive Noise / Squealing Tires”! what a ride!

  • avatar
    stingray65

    First car: 1971 BMW Bavaria about 170hp, 4 spd manual, 15 mpg city, 24 highway.

    Current car: 2008 Mini Clubman S about 170hp, 6 spd manual, 35 mpg daily mixed driving.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    1979 Dodge Magnum averaged about 19mpg when I bothered to check.

    1988 Dodge Shadow ES with the turbo 4 and a 5 speed. Averaged between 16mpg and 32mpg depending on where I drove and how hard I drove.

    1978 Dodge Ramcharger with the 318 and 3+1 manual and full time 4wd with the lift kit and tires to go with it was 13mpg

    1985 Daytona with the non turbo 4 pot. No idea.

    1969 Dodge Coronet 383/727 and 17mpg.

    1965 Cobra replica small block 4 speed and 20mpg. (Bought in 94 and still have)

    1985 Chrysler 5th Avenue. Rolling living room only got 16mpg mixed.

    1998 Chevy Cavalier with the 2.2 and aut and it got 27 mixed.

    2000 Intrepid with the 2.7. No idea. Didn’t fit the car seat well and traded to a:

    2000 Durango with the 318 4 speed auto and averaged 15.5mpg. Still have and still gets about the same with 194k miles. Needs new O2 sensors.

    Had a 2000 Cavalier for a bit and it was in the 26mpg range.

    2008 Dodge Stratus and it was in the 28mpg mixed with the 2.7 liter 6. Got rid of with 167k miles.

    1971 Porsche 911 2.2l six and a 5 speed. Not a clue what it got, but in the low 20s.

    2014 Dodge Avenger with the Pentastar and mixed is 27.6mpg currently. Got our best at 32mpg on the interstate at 75mph headed through Indiana.

    2013 Nissan Rogue with the hamster wheel and rubber band. 24.7mpg currently.

    So no, my average mileage has not improved over the years. The cars have gotten bigger, better and faster for the daily drivers though.

    I am sure the Cobra would do better if the throttle were limited to half the travel and id didn’t make such a wonderful noise when on the loud pedal. :)

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      Keep on keeping on with the Cobra….maybe if you get real ambitious swap a T5 but only if you are feeling sporty. Otherwise no top season is here soon enough!

      • 0 avatar
        Flipper35

        I looked at the option of a 5/6 speed but the amount of work and the fact the current drive shaft is 8.5″ long makes it a tough fit. I had 2.73 gears int he back and now with the 3:55 it gets about the same. Not sure the T5 would do much better and it is hard to find one that handles that much torque. There are options for TKO and Richmond as well.

  • avatar
    tomLU86

    Update:

    First car: 80 Ford Fairmont, 2.3-4cyl, 88hp 4spd 2650 lbs, 23 mpg, 28-33 hwy(55-65mph, this is mid-80s)
    First NEW car: 86 VW GTI, 1.8, 5-spd, 102hp, 2200 lbs, 28 mpg, 30-35 hwy (60-75mph)
    Current car: 2014 Buick Regal, 2.0 4-cyl turbo, 259hp, 23mpg, 28-30 hwy (70-80 mph).

    87-octane in Buick, other 2 used 93 (Fairmont knocked…VW because I liked and it had ‘high’ compression for 1986)

    So, the old Fairmont and new Buick are awfully close in mpg and room. Fairmont had much better visibility. Buick much better EVERYTHING else.

  • avatar
    StudeDude

    First car–1966 Dodge Coronet 500 2 dr with 318 poly and Torqueflite–~15-17 MPG
    Current DD is 2016 Mazda6 automatic that ranges from 28-37 MPG.

  • avatar
    brettc

    1985 Jetta diesel – I think it got about 5 or 6 litres/100 kms, so that works out to about 40 to 47 US MPG.

    Now I’m in a 2013 C-Max. Fuelly says I’m averaging 34.5 over ~12000 miles.

    Of course it’s a much nicer car, but you can’t beat an old diesel with no emission controls for economy.

  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    Dodge Shadow and Plymouth Sundance. Horrible, awful, terrible vehicles.
    My father in law was a dogcatcher of cars. As a result I married into a green Dodge Shadow similar to the pictured.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    1st car: 85′ Ford EXP. Got great MPG, mid 20’s for sure.

    Current: 08′ Suburban 15.9 no matter what I do and when.
    05′ Vette does 22-23. If I did not drive it like a teenager on a date with the hot girl everywhere I went it would do better. Full disclosure, even at 43, I still don’t have the maturity to not consider every stop light a drag racing event. Maybe one day I will grow up…

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Well the first cars that I owned were rear engined, air cooled VW’s so the MPG was decent. We used to pull up to the gas station on a Friday night and put in $2 worth of gas and drive around for most of the night.

    After that I had a great many Malaise Era PLCs. Large block V8 engines, whenever possible. GM (Grand Prix SJ), Ford (Thunderbird and Gran Torino Elite) and Chrysler (Cordoba), often 400 cubic inches or bigger. And of course a C3 Corvette (350) and a Mark IV (460).

    Gas mileage on those was “don’t even ask”.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    Compared to my first vehicle (a 93 Aerostar AWD, Eddie Bauer, 4.0) my vehicle is averaging about 3x the efficiency. The lifetime average for the Mazda, tracked on Fuelly is 31, whereas my Ford was rough 10.xx combined (it’s been too long to recall).

    Compared to my first car (91 LeSabre Custom) I’m roughly 1.5x as efficient. The LeSabre was usually around 17-20 mpg combined.

    My first vehicle which might be considered efficient was my 93 Escort with the 1.9 liter. I was usually around 25-27 combined.

    The Mazda is tausendmal more comfortable, quieter, refined, enjoyable to drive than any of these rigs were. Overall, I’m not unhappy with where I am. The winter is taking its toll on mileage right now, but it’s temporary and I know I’ll be above the 30 mark again soon.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    Without going into too much detail (witness protection):

    – Fuel economy of my first V8 car was embarrassing
    – Fuel economy of my current V8 truck is embarrassing
    – Wife’s I4 crossover fuel economy is ok, not amazing
    – Son’s V6 sedan fuel economy is pretty ok, considering
    – Daughter’s V6 SUV fuel economy is horrible

    – Fuel economy across the fleet of the first OEM I worked for was fairly embarrassing
    – Fuel economy across the fleet of the second OEM I worked for was super embarrassing (3000rpm at 70MPH in a torquey V6 – what??)

    – General lack of progress on the efficiency front industry-wide is embarrassing

    I’ll show myself out…

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      I can’t argue with much you said here, Toolguy. It makes you wonder why a Torquey V6 needs to run at such high revs just to maintain speed when another gear or slightly taller gears might let it cruise at a more sedate 2000-2200revs. Sure, you’d have to downshift for some grades but you’d still realize some fuel savings just by slowing the engine down a bit.

  • avatar
    MoDo

    Had a Charger SRT 392 that got better mileage than a 3.5L 2003 Maxima SE I had. That was a shocker.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    First
    1988 Ranger regular cab 2.3/Manual 19-20ish. 88 hp iirc

    Current
    2015 F150 SuperCrew 2.7 20-22ish 325 hp
    2018 Fiesta ST 1.6t 28 mpg, 200 hp.

    So while my cars havent doubled the mileage, they have, in the case of the F150 quadrupled the hp and move a much bigger and safer vehicle for the same mpg and in the Fiesta given a 50 percent improvement with more than twice the hp.

    It should be noted that to get to my Fiesta’s level in 1988 (the year of the Ranger) you had to spring for a Mustang GT (5.0 V8), or a Taurus SHO (3.0 v6). You could get 190hp in a Thunderbird Turbo Coupe so long as you got the manual with the “OG Ecoboost” 2.3 Lima turbocharged motor.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    First
    1988 Ranger regular cab 2.3/Manual 19-20ish. 88 hp iirc

    Current
    2015 F150 SuperCrew 2.7 20-22ish 325 hp
    2018 Fiesta ST 1.6t 28 mpg, 200 hp.

    So while my cars havent doubled the mileage, they have, in the case of the F150 quadrupled the hp and move a much bigger and safer vehicle for the same mpg and in the Fiesta given a 50 percent improvement with more than twice the hp.

    It should be noted that to get to my Fiesta’s level in 1988 (the year of the Ranger) you had to spring for a Mustang GT (5.0 V8), or a Taurus SHO (3.0 v6). You could get 190hp in a Thunderbird Turbo Coupe so long as you got the manual with the “OG Ecoboost” 2.3 Lima turbocharged motor. If you wanted the 325 in my truck you had better grab that GT and a Summit Racing catalog and hope you don’t have any warranty claims.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    My first car was the infamous Chevrolet Citation, 6-cylinder automatic. EPA fuel economy stats only go back to 1984, but that combo got 17/24, 19 combined (by the current formula). Current ride is a 2001 Echo manual: 29/37, 32 combined (but the fuel log I keep shows a long-term average in the low 40s).

    • 0 avatar
      jatz

      “the infamous Chevrolet Citation”

      MT COTY for 1980, I well remember the evanescent Gung-Ho Americana it triggered before reality pounced like a Progressive on someone else’s life. Dammit.

  • avatar
    relton

    1st car, 1957 Chrysler New Yorker. 10 mpg, occasionally 12 on highway
    Current favorite car, 2007 Bentley Continental. 10 mpg, occasionally 14 on highway. EPA is 9 – 14.
    Not much improvement there, though Bentley does have 50% more cylinders than Chrysler.

    First BMW lifetime average24.5. 2nd BMW 23.5. Not much change there either, though 2nd BMW does have all wheel drive.

  • avatar
    newenthusiast

    My first car (in 1991): 1975 Nova SS, with the 305ci 5.0L V8. My memory tells me that it had the 4 speed automatic, but my understanding is that those were not a commonly selected option outside of the LN trim…so I probably had the 3 speed. I’m pretty sure that in the summer, when I could take it to the NJ shore from PA and up to the Poconos for camping, I MAYBE got 15mpg combined. In the winter….forget it….maybe 11 or 12. It was listed new at 15/23/17 combined mpg. It had a 20 gallon tank capacity, but at around 275-300 miles it would be close enough to “E” on the gauge to need a fill up in the summer. It was on old car that ran well enough for my needs. It was an under powered, front heavy, fuel pig…and I loved it.

    Current ride: well, some drunk jackass (at 2pm!) totaled my Q7 last month by backing into me in a parking lot (with a company owned vehicle no less), so with the generous settlement from that company’s insurance, I bought a barely driven, first gen Q5 with only 32k miles on it and saved the rest of the money.

    Because 1: I’m going to have a 16 year old in the house next year, and this will be better to learn with than another Q7 sized vehicle…

    and 2: my wife is military, and its likely we will move next year…possibly out of the US, and I didn’t want the hassle taking a large vehicle with me to Asia or Europe, where my operating costs will be much higher. If we stay in the US, I’ll give the kid the Q5 and get something new for me with the rest of the cash.

    Anyway, the 3.2 FSI is rated at 18/23/20 combined, but so far, I’m getting 22.9 combined in a vehicle that weighs almost 1000lbs more than the Nova.

  • avatar
    Jason Bright

    First car:
    1979 Ford Fairmont w/ 255 V8 and a 3 speed automatic that only had 2 out of 3 gears
    Fuel mileage: Take a guess. I’d say a good deal less than 15mpg
    Current car:
    2006 Hyundai Sonata GL V6
    Currently averaging 24-25 mpg.

  • avatar
    MGS1995

    First vehicle was a wore out 75 F100, V-8 with a three on the tree.
    Don’t know what the mileage was; never put more than $5 in at a time.
    Currently drive a GX-460; that gets 21 on the highway; 16 around town.
    I’m betting it’s better than the old Ford

  • avatar
    Pikes

    First car – 1974 Mustang with 2.3L engine, got about 13L/100km (18 MPG)
    Current – 2009 Fusion with 2.3L engine, gets about 10L/100km (24 MPG)

    So, over 35 years, the same displacement engine delivers 30% better economy, and about 50% more HP (if I recall the ’74 version didn’t crack 100 HP)

  • avatar

    1966 Volvo 122S, 25MPG, Filled the tank twice a month for $3.00-$3.50 ($25.50 in today’s dollars.)

    2013 Lexus GS350, 26MPG, Fill the tank once a month for $36.00. I drive a whole lot less now.

  • avatar
    ptschett

    First car:
    1973 Mercury Cougar
    351C-2V V8 (168 HP), 3-speed auto
    0-60: ~12 seconds
    10-14 MPG is what I remember. But gas was $0.95-$1.30/gallon so I didn’t care.

    First modern-ish car:
    1996 Ford Thunderbird
    4.6L SOHC V8 (205 HP), 4-speed auto
    0-60: 8.0 seconds
    EPA says 15 city, 18 combined, 23 highway (current style math)
    I remember mid-teens MPG city and low 20’s being pretty typical highway, the best tankful ever was about 29 MPG (all 2-lane highway, ideal conditions) and the worst 12 MPG (100% city w/ freeway use in a snowy cold January.)

    First modern-ish pickup:
    2005 Dodge Dakota Club Cab
    4.7L V8 (230 HP), 5-speed auto, 4×4
    0-60: 9-10 seconds
    EPA: 14 city / 15 combined / 19 highway (current style math)
    I got more like 9-13 city, 16-18 highway, 13.98 MPG average over the final 60,000 miles that i had it.

    Current modern car:
    2015 Dodge Challenger R/T
    5.7L V8 (370 HP), 8-speed auto
    0-60: 5.3 seconds
    EPA: 16 city / 19 combined / 25 highway
    I’m getting 14-16 city, low-20’s highway, 18.6 MPG average over 32,000 miles but with usage biased to city since I got the Ram…

    Current modern pickup:
    2017 Ram 1500 Quad Cab
    5.7L V8 (395 HP), 8-speed auto
    0-60: 7 seconds-ish? (3.92 gears)
    EPA: 15 city / 17 combined / 21 highway
    I’m seeing generally 12-14 city, 16-18 highway, 14.84 average over 19,000 miles, best tankful 19.34 MPG just last week (highway trip, icy roads requiring extreme care with the throttle.)

    I’d have a better trend of improved efficiency if the newer vehicles were Pentastars instead of Hemis, but much better performance for similar to somewhat better MPG is an acceptable tradeoff to me.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    First car I drove a lot was a 1984 Nissan truck, king cab with the 2.4L 4-banger. Mileage? I have no idea but it wasn’t anything great. High teens in the city, low-20s highway would be my best guess. It was a 3-speed automatic and it was also the 55-stay-alive days.

    The first car that I owned, at the tender age of 17, was a 1968 Firebird with a 2-speed Powerglide (!) and a 400cid Pontiac engine. IIRC 12mpg was my average; which consumed most of my earnings of $3.50 an hour at 20 hours a week. I really didn’t track MPG back then, just filled up as needed.

    Current car is a 2014 Mustang V6 – I average 15 to 16mpg in the city, can easily knock over 25mpg on the highway.

  • avatar

    ’72 Charger w/318 – 22 mpg highway.
    ’98 Stratus w/2.4L – 34 mpg highway.

    Both figures from actual road trips of more than 100 miles. The ’84 Shelby Charger I had got right at 35 mpg highway with the 2.2L.


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