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Report Shows Top 10 Vehicles With Highest Fuel-Economy Gains Between 2008 and 2012

March 15, 2012

SANTA MONICA, CA – A new report from shows the brands and vehicles that achieved the largest fuel-economy gains, on a percentage basis, between 2008 and 2012.

According to Edmunds, the Audi A3 has achieved the greatest increase in fuel economy since 2008, more than any other vehicle on the U.S. market. The A3’s fuel economy increased 38.5%, from 21.0 mpg in its 2008 model-year, to 29.1 mpg in its 2012 model-year.

New car registration data shows that the nationwide marketshare of four-cylinder vehicles has risen to 44.4% as of December 2011, up from 36.7% in 2008. The overall increase in fuel economy for the auto industry during that period is 16.4%, according to Edmunds.

The chart below shows a list of the brands that have achieved significant fuel-economy gains by make, model, and mpg, based on model-year.


Top 10 Vehicles with Biggest Jumps in Fuel Economy — 2008 to 2012
Rank Make Model 2012 MPG 2008 MPG MPG Improvement
1 Audi A3 29.1 21.0 38.5%
2 Chevrolet Equinox 25.1 19.0 32.0%
3 Kia Sorento 22.2 17.0 30.4%
4 Dodge Challenger 19.5 15.0 30.3%
5 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class 23.0 17.9 28.3%
6 Ford Explorer 19.5 15.4 27.0%
7 Hyundai Sonata 27.7 22.0 25.8%
8 Porsche Cayenne 18.3 14.7 24.8%
9 Buick LaCrosse 26.0 20.9 24.1%
10 Volkswagen Passat 27.0 21.8 23.7%
  INDUSTRY   24.5 21.0 16.4%

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  1. 1. stephen Weir [ March 16, 2012 @ 05:21AM ]

    Stupid story. Although it is good to recognize theat companies are paying atttention, giving kudos, of a sort, to the Dodge Challenger, Ford Explorer and Porsche Cayenne when their MPG's in 2012 are below industry average is nuts.

  2. 2. Ed Miller [ March 16, 2012 @ 06:41AM ]

    I find it interesting that most of the mileage increases can be directly attributed to transmission swaps from four or five speed versions to six, seven and even eight speed units.

    This technology has been available for 20 years, but it took a global economic crisis for auto manufacturers to make the offerings. And, these innovations became available so quickly that they had to have been painless for the manufacturers - meaning very little was needed in the way of R&D and testing to pull the triggers.

    Consumers could have been saving all along.

    It kinds of makes me wonder what other wonderful innovations they're sitting on waiting for their next opportunity to seem like heroes.

  3. 3. Cheryl E. [ March 16, 2012 @ 07:50AM ]

    Let's not forget - one of the main drivers of fuel economy improvement is government regulations. Auto makers can't roll-out model after model without making progress towards these goals and still be in compliance. For maybe we should give a faint 'golf clap' to the government.

    And I have to point out that, if you look back over time, when fuel is relatively cheap - or at least an acceptable price that fits the consumer's wallet - consumers don't care much about fuel economy. So manufacturing the 'same ol' transmission is more efficient from a production point of view (and helps keep vehicle prices low) than re-designing and re-sourcing and re-tooling for a new design that gets better mileage that consumers don't really care about and therefore aren't willing to pay more for. In the end, vehicle manufacturers will design vehicles that have the attributes we, as consumers in large numbers, care about and want. Today, we seem to want better fuel economy (because the price of fuel is escalating and uncertain) but without loss of performance or vehicle space/functionality. It's a big challenge - I can't wait to see a minivan or 7-seater with mpgs over 35.


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