QOTD: Making Progress at the Pump?
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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