Top 15 Fuel Efficient Cars and the Model T

Good Magazine is out with its list of the 15 most fuel efficient cars on the road. And the most remarkable thing about it? After over 100 years of US automotive engineering since the 1908 Model T, things haven't gotten that much better.

A couple of years ago we wrote about the fact that the terribly inefficient Model T in 1908 got 21 miles a gallon while then-current industry-wide statistics show average fuel economy for a new car was 17.2 mpg and in 1979 it was 16 mpg. And a couple of years before that we also wrote about how gas mileage in 2005 was the same as 1982. And the 2009 mpg average? The EPA reports it to be just a lousy 21.1 miles per gallon.

While average miles per gallon on the most fuel efficient vehicles on the Good Magazine list are far more than the average car on US roads, when you look at the numbers, there have to be some real gas hogs out there for the overall average to be pulled down to 21.1 mpg.

Here's the Good Magazine list:
15. The Hyundai Elantra Blue (manual)Miles per gallon: 26 city, 35 highwayManufacturer's Suggested Retail Price: $14,145
14. Mini Cooper (manual)MPG: 28 city, 37 highwayMSRP: $19,500
13. Toyota Yaris (manual)MPG: 29 city, 36 highwayMSRP: $12,905
12. Volkswagen Jetta TDI (manual)MPG: 30 city, 41 highwayMSRP: $22,830
12. Volkswagen Golf TDI (manual)MPG: 30 city, 41 highwayMSRP: $22,354 for Golf
10. Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen TDI (automatic)MPG: 30 city, 42 highwayMSRP: $24,615
9. Audi A3 (automatic)MPG: 30 city, 42 highwayMSRP: $27,270
8. Smart For-Two Coupe or Convertible (both automatic)MPG: 33 city, 41 highwayMSRP: $11,990
7. Ford Escape (and Mazda Tribute) Hybrid (both automatic, and both SUVs!)MPG: 34 city, 31 highwayMSRP: $29,175
6. Nissan Altima Hybrid (automatic)MPG: 35 city, 34 highwayMSRP: $26,650
5. 2010 Lexus HS 250h (automatic)MPG: 35 city, 34 highwayMSRP: $34,650
4. Honda Insight Hybrid (automatic)MPG: 40 city, 43 highwayMSRP: $19,800
3. Honda Civic Hybrid (automatic)MPG: 40 city, 45 highwayMSRP: $23,800
2. Ford Fusion (and Mercury Milan) Hybrid (automatic)MPG: 41 city, 36 highwayMSRP: $27,950
1. Toyota Prius (automatic)MPG: 51 city, 48 highwayMSRP: $22,800

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Of course, that Prius may be the recalled one with brakes that don't work when you first hit them, giving you that extra thrill of terror while you get those really good mpg's.

The reason the overall average mpg for US cars being so low is that there are an awful lot of fuel inefficient vehicles on the road and very fuel efficient ones. I guess that clunker program didn't work so good after all.

Burdge Law Office
Because life's too short to drive a lemon.
Even a really old one.