Just another WordPress.com site

Fuel economy cars in the US versus Europe

UPDATE 3/2Audi is now adding 4 cyl for the A5 this summer in the US and should yield 35% improvement
UPDATE 8/26Toyota is adding 4 cyl for the Highlander (US) and should yield about 10-15% vs current V6: New 2.7 4cyl Highlander ’09
NOTE:  if you are thinking importing a car into the US see this article (extremely difficult for some reason): http://www.foreignborn.com/visas_imm/entering_us/7importingyourcar.htm
UPDATE: just noticed this related article: Four Is Enough

Now that the fuel prices are over $4 in the US, it seems everyone is talking about smaller cars (PS in Europe it’s over $9). Reality is that average fuel economy is about 25mpg in the US and 37mpg in Europe. You certainly see an increase in smaller cars but the shift to midsize SUV’s from big SUV’s is probably bigger.
One overlooked component in saving fuel is the engine itself it seems. In Europe you can get the same car typically with a smaller engine. Kind of ironic considering that you can often drive faster in Europe on the freeway (e.g. Germany). So how much would it save? Here are some comparisons:

Euro vs US base

car comparison

Engine Euro/US

Weight

Euro/US

0-60mph Euro/US

Comb. MPG Euro/US

Diff

MPG

Diff MPG

Adj. -20%

VW Passat **

1.6 / 1.8

1388 / 1463

10.5 / 7.8

36 / 28   ** 

 

+29% ** 

Accord/TSX ‘09**

2.0 / 2.4

1384 / 1454

9.4 / 8.0

32 / 26  **

 

+23% **

Audi A6**

2.0 / 3.2

1550 / 1680

8.7 / 7.1

29 / 22  **

 

+32% **

Audi A5**  ***

2.0 / 3.2

1550 / 1570

6.5 / 6.4

32 / 26  **

 

+22% **

Audi Q5**

2.0 / 3.2

1740 / 1795

7.2 / 6.9

28 / 26  **

 

+9% **

Honda Civic

1.4 / 1.8

1140 / 1183

14.6 / 8.2

40 / 29

+38%

+10%

Jazz / Fit ‘08

1.2 / 1.5

971 / 1095

13.7 / 9.3

43 / 31

+39%

+11%

Toyota Corolla

1.6 / 1.8

1215 / 1270

10.4 / 8.9

35 / 30

+17%

-7%

Volvo C30

1.6 / 2.4

1176 / 1440

11.8 / 6.8

34 / 23

+48%

+18%

Honda CRV

2.0 / 2.4

1469 / 1576

10.2 / 9.5

29 / 23

+26%

+0.1%

Toyota RAV4

2.0 / 2.4

1440 / 1550

10.6 / 7.1

28 / 24

+17%

-7%

Civic Hybrid

Prius

Same

Same

1268 / 1295

1275 / 1319

12.1 / 11.7

10.9 / 10.5

52 / 42

55 / 46

23%

20%

 

* Note: While comparing fuel economy ratings I noticed if I take the exact same model like the Prius and Civic Hybrid, I do get about 20% higher claimed combined mileage in Europe ratings (15%/25% city/highway). So I did adjust by 20% in the last column since that seems little bit more ‘accurate’ in comparing both.
** Both economy numbers come from European site so the numbers are directly comparable (but not directly to US EPA mpg since typically 20% higher). Note Audi models are compared to base entry model which can

The comparison revealed that the fuel economy ratings are different in the US from Europe so it’s difficult to accurately compare and I tried to adjust. In some cases like the A6 I was able to get both numbers from Europe so the comparison is accurate. For the other models you still get an idea how much it could save. So I think it would be great if car makers in the US will be be offering smaller engines as well. That should yield on average 10-20% improvement. Would they really not sell? Take the C30 and A6 as most extreme examples. Does the majority really require the C30 to go 0-60mph (100km) in 6.8 sec? Sure the smaller engine is much slower but it does get almost 20% better fuel economy and that’s probably one of the main reasons people buy now here smaller cars (with exception of some cars like the Beetle and Mini). The A6 would yield 32% improvement with the 2.0 engine and still would go from 0-60 under 9 seconds.

Best of both world still seem Hybrids for the moment. If you take the Camry Hybrid for example it’s pretty quick at 8.4 sec from 0-60mph and still gets 34mpg combined mileage (+36% compared to non-Hybrid Camry). There are several new Hybrids coming in the next 2 years. I excluded Diesel for now for several reasons. One main reason is that diesel fuel is more expensive in the US and the requirements are much higher so you see very few (blu-tec) models right now.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s